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Summerset returns to RCC with ‘Souvenir’

After the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled last season and impacted this year, Summerset Theatre will finally return to the Frank W. Bridges Theatre at Riverland Community College in Austin with the hilarious comedy “Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins.”

Written by Stephen Temperly and directed by Summerset Co-director Randal Forster, “Souvenir” tells the story of singer Florence Foster Jenkins, as told through the eyes of her accompanist, Cosme McMoon.

Alex Knoll as Cosme McMoon rehearses a scene from the Summerset production of “Souvenir” Monday night at Frank W. Bridges Theatre. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

For more than half a century, the name Florence Foster Jenkins was guaranteed to produce explosions of derisive laughter. This wealthy society eccentric suffered under the delusion that she was a great coloratura soprano, when in fact she was incapable of producing two consecutive notes in tune. Nevertheless, her annual recitals in the ballroom of the Ritz Carlton hotel in New York City brought her extraordinary fame. Her growing mob of fans packed her recitals, stuffing handkerchiefs in their mouths to stifle their laughter, which Jenkins blissfully mistook for cheers.

Eyewitness accounts of her concerts vary so wildly, it is almost impossible to separate fact from gossip. This fictional “biography” follows the story of the partnership of Jekins and McMoon, from its earliest days to their infamous concert in Carnegie Hall and its aftermath.

They were a musical odd-couple for the ages.

Show times for “Souvenir” are 7 p.m. on Friday, July 30, Saturday, July 31, Thursday, Aug. 5, and Friday, Aug. 6, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Aug. 1, and Sunday, Aug. 8. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.summersettheatre.org or at the door.

“Souvenir” is presented through special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service.

For more information, visit www.summersettheatre.org, email boxoffice@riverland.edu, or call 507-433-0595.

Kaye Perry rehearses a scene from the Summerset play “Souvenir” Monday night at Frank W. Bridges Theatre. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Cast

Cosme McMoon – Alex Knoll

Florence Foster Jenkins – Kaye Perry

Creative Team/Crew

Director/Designer – Randal Forster

Vocal Direction – Brian Johnson

Stage Manager/Props/Dresser – Marny Rohr

Technical Director/Lighting and Sound Design – John Deyo

Costume Design and Construction – Kaye Perry

Hair and Makeup Consultant – Susan Hanson

Sound Board Operator – Ian Gearhart

Box Office – Morgan Dickman