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Max and Louie Productions’ pay homage to singer Florence Foster Jenkins in “Souvenir” production

Dan Donovan
Actors portray tone-deaf opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins (left) and Cosme McMoon (right), pianist of Florence Foster Jenkins.

For much of the first half of the last century, Florence Foster Jenkins was a sensation. She was a tone-deaf socialite who featured herself as an opera singer.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about Max and Louie Productions' presentation of "Souvenir," a fantasia on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins.

Joining him for the discussion were Paul Cereghino, actor and pianist, who’s playing the role of Cosme McMoon (pianist of Florence Foster Jenkins) and Sydnie Grosberg Ronga, “Souvenirs” director and co-founder the company.

Florence Foster Jenkins true story was recently told in the Oscar nominated film starring Meryl Streep. But Ronga said that unlike movie, this production is not a biopic.

“It goes off in different directions. We are not in any way trying to imitate Florence Foster Jenkins. It’s more of a homage to her what we do,” Ronga said. She said the play is not a romantic love story, but it does explore the loving relationship between Jenkins and her pianist Cosme McCoon.

Jenkins often sold out her recitals, including at Carnegie Hall. And it was all for the benefit of the charities she supported.

“[Jenkins] is kind of amazing in that, was she a great singer? No. Was she a good performer? I think probably yes,” Cereghino said. “But was she courageous and did she do what she loved and should all of us try to do just that? Absolutely.”

He said the play will be a jazz cabaret act, a classical recital gone awry and a comedy “wrapped in a package.”

Listen for the full discussion and to hear snippets of Florence Foster Jenkin’s singing:


Related Events

What: Max and Louie Productions Presents "Souvenir," a Fantasia on the Life of Forest Foster Jenkins by Stephen Temperly

  • Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturdays at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.
  • Sundays at 3:00 p.m.
  • New Years Eve at 8:00 p.m.

Where: The Marcelle Theatre in Grand Center, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, St. Louis, MO 63103
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St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.