Category Archive for: ‘Flora Lynn Isaacson’
RVP Opens 86th Season with
The True Story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the Worst Singer in the World
Ross Valley Players theatre is proud to open its new season with the hilarious and heartwarming comedy, Glorious! based on the real story of Florence Foster Jenkins. Peter Quilter recreates this exuberant “soprano” in his play while she sings and screeches her way through performances for her enthusiastic audiences, who mostly fall apart with laughter.
According to the play’s director Billie Cox, she actually knew people like Florence, who were simply not very good but loved what they did with a transcendent passion.
As Florence Foster Jenkins, Ellen Brooks brilliantly evokes the excruciatingly awful singing of a woman who has little sense of pitch or rhythm and is barely capable of sustaining a note. She is a singer whose pianist makes adjustments to compensate for her tempo variations and rhythmic mistakes. She shrieks, squeaks, and screeches – but so what – she loves it!
Quilter’s play, brilliantly directed by Billie Cox provides an interesting portrait of an eccentric American woman who, despite her lack of ability to sing, was firmly convinced of her greatness as a soprano.
The play is set in the year 1944, the last year of Florence Foster Jenkins’ life. While nations are embroiled in WWII, Florence is busy recruiting a new pianist, Cosme McMoon (Daniel Morgan), to accompany her in forthcoming performances and recitals.
Ellen Brooks is terrific as she emulates Florence Foster Jenkins, a soprano diva who is at once both a ridiculous and fascinating subject.
Maria (Maureen O’Donoghue), her housekeeper, is a Spanish woman with whom she cannot communicate (neither speaks the other’s language) and her the sentimental friend Dorothy (Eileen Fisher), together with her
supportive husband St. Clair, a bearded-British-Shakespearean actor (Mitchell Field), serve to accentuate Florence’s bizarreness.
Jackie Blue portrays Mrs. Verrinder-Gedge, Florence’s nemesis, who comes up from the audience and hurls insults at her.
This great cast is aided in no small measure by Ron Krempetz’s magnificent set, which should have equal billing with the actors. Before the play opens in Florence’s apartment, we see a vintage 1940s black and white movie of New York City traffic, projected on a wide screen. Special mention should be made of Michael A. Berg’s costumes.
Glorious! is well worth the price of admission because of Billie Cox’s superb direction as we’re guided through Florence’s charity recitals, extravagant balls, bizarre recording sessions, and ultimate triumph at Carnegie Hall.
Photographers: Gregg LeBlanc and Robin Jackson
This hilarious play began its run September 18 and will continue through October 18, 2015. Regular performances are scheduled for Thursdays 7:30 p.m., Fridays 8:00 p.m., Saturdays 8:00 p.m., and Sunday Matinees are at 2:00 p.m. For tickets, go online to www.rossvalleyplayers.com or call 415/456-9555, ext. 3. All performances take place at The Barn, home of the Ross Valley Players, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross.
Coming up next at RVP will be The Ladies of the Camellias by Lillian Groag and directed by
Julian Lopez-Morillas, running November 20 through December 20, 2015.
Flora Lynn Isaacson