As soon as I saw a theatre promotion for Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins with Michael Pearce Donley (co-creator of Triple Espresso and the O.G. Hugh Butternut) behind a piano and Vanessa Gamble singing next to him, I knew it was going to be a not-to-be-missed show. Unfortunately, I had to miss it. In my place I sent two of my best friends, Todd and Andrea Miltenberger.
According to both of our reviewers, “This show is hilarious!” Even though I had to miss opening night doesn’t mean YOU need to worry about that. There are still 3 more weekends of shows. And you won’t want to miss it!
“Florence is so blissfully ignorant of her own lack of ability that what she states in earnest is genuine jest for the audience.” Todd Miltenberger
This show is based on the TRUE story of Florence Foster Jenkins. Andrea was a history major in college, and her first response to most things historical is to look it up and learn more. She is very particular about how historical narratives are told, and Andrea loved this show. Florence did so well in the music world and was completely oblivious to how people responded to her.
Photo Credits to Bonnie Allen
FFTC received tickets in exchange for promotion. This review is our own.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- Covid Protocol from Bucket Brigade and Art House North:
Due to lower numbers of Covid cases in the state, milder variants and generally more encouraging Covid related news, we are making this a mask-optional event. To limit Covid risk we are reducing the audience capacity (four people to a row instead of six) which will allow for a little more distance between folks.
- Art House North is an old church.
Dress in layers since it’s hard to determine if it will be drafty or stuffy.
- Todd’s favorite character was Cosme McMoon because Michael Pearce Donley delivered him so authentically. It was very easy. There isn’t a break-in period with him. The moment you meet Cosme, he is believable. The characters pair well together and feed off each other.
- Age Recommendation for Souvenir: This show is great for a very mature 10 year old or older. The content is fairly clean, so that isn’t the reason for the age recommendation. The vocabulary includes a lot of musical terms which may go over kids’ heads. Kids who are interested in music and the arts may find it more fun than those who aren’t. This is not an action-packed show because the journey is more of a humorous internal one.
- Be sure to watch Michael Pearce Donley during Vanessa’s lines because you don’t want to miss his reactions. His line delivery is amazing, and his inflection and comedic timing are perfect. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy Vanessa’s true talent for song, you will not be disappointed either. Todd and Andrea are familiar with it because Vanessa Gamble was their church’s worship leader when they were first married.
“Vanessa is like an off-key Maggie Smith [from Downtown Abby].” Todd Miltenberger
HOW TO TAKE Souvenir WITH YOU
The giggles don’t have to end after the show is over
- Sign your kids up for Bucket Brigade’s Summer Camp. They have three different camps where you could learn from the amazing Vanessa Gamble aka Florence Foster Jenkins. Click here to learn more about Bucket Brigade Summer Camps.
- Learn more about Florence Foster Jenkins. Click here to learn more about this flamboyant socialite.
- Explore music around the Twin Cities at one of our local musical outlets. Click here for more musical adventures.
MORE ABOUT SOUVENIR
SOUVENIR celebrates the story of Florence Foster Jenkins– a wealthy society eccentric who suffered under the delusion that she was a great coloratura soprano when she was in fact incapable of producing two consecutive notes in tune. The hilarious and poignant play tells her story through the eyes of her accompanist, Cosme McMoon. Faced with her boundless confidence and certainty, Cosme comes to revise his attitude, not only towards her singing but to the very meaning of music, and indeed of friendship itself
“Michael Pearce Donley delivers the lines of his many monologues like a tall Vizzini (from Princess Bride) who can tickle the ivories with the best of them.”
Three things I think you should consider as a parent.
- The age of your child. The show runs 110 minutes with a 15 minute intermission. You know your child and what captures their attention. If you don’t think they will enjoy it, consider this for a date night. Todd and Andrea couldn’t stop talking about how much they enjoyed it.
- Seating. I believe the seating is wooden pews.
- How to Dress. We live in Minnesota, so dress in layers. Dressing up can be fun, and there isn’t a dress code for Art House North. However, I do believe there is a level of respect shown to the actors and theatre when you take care of your appearance.
SHOW AND TICKETING INFORMATION
Show runs April 29, 2022-May 14, 2022. Monday, May 9 is a special Pay-As-You-Are-Able performance.
Ticket prices range $20-$40 Click here for tickets
If you are interested in more theatre options for you and your kids, FFTC has collected them on our Performing Arts Calendar Page. Click here to learn more about what is happening on stage in the Twin Cities.