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Souvenir Reviews

Yankeefan007
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Souvenir Reviews#0
Posted: 11/10/05 at 7:20pm
http://www.broadway.com/gen/Buzz_Story.aspx?ci=521112

Quite positive....love the video they have with it.
Yankeefan007
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re: Souvenir Reviews#1
Posted: 11/10/05 at 7:20pm
http://www.talkinbroadway.com/allthatchat/d.php?id=191756

Also very positive....a rarity for Mr. Murray.
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Rathnait62
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re: Souvenir Reviews#2
Posted: 11/10/05 at 7:26pm
Excellent news! I only expect the trend to continue, having seen the piece in its York incarnation. It's enthralling.
Have I ever shown you my Shattered Dreams box? It's in my Disappointment Closet. - Marge Simpson
MargoChanning
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re: Souvenir Reviews#3
Posted: 11/11/05 at 1:15am
The Times is Mixed-to-Positive:

"Stephen Temperley's sweet but none-too-short love letter of a play is a portrait of Florence Foster Jenkins, who became a legend for singing badly. There's no ignoring the jolt of the first fully sung note delivered by Judy Kaye as Mrs. Jenkins, a socialite who set elite eardrums in Manhattan a-trembling in a series of notorious private concerts from 1912 until the year she died. As its title suggests, "Souvenir" is a memory play. It is framed by the recollections of a sentimentalist performing in a piano bar in 1964. That's the implausibly named Cosme McMoon (Donald Corren), an aging gay blade who spent much of his youth playing the melodies to the songs with which Mrs. Jenkins had her willful way in rehearsals and in concert. "Souvenir" would probably be guaranteed a long and healthy life in a more intimate space. Whether it was advisable to throw it onto Broadway is questionable. It's not that Ms. Kaye and Mr. Corren get lost in a big house. They don't. But they and the script wind up having to reach for big comic and tear-jerking effects that rip the play's fine-spun charm. For the first 80 minutes or so, they are lovely company. But like the obsessed woman it celebrates, "Souvenir" doesn't know when to leave the stage."
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/11/theater/reviews/11souv.html?8dpc
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
MargoChanning
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re: Souvenir Reviews#4
Posted: 11/11/05 at 1:17am
USA Today gives it Three out of Four Stars:

"Back in the 1930s and '40s, a tone-deaf society woman who fancied herself a great coloratura soprano decimated arias for ecstatic audiences. Florence Foster Jenkins, the subject of Stephen Temperley's charming Souvenir (* * * out of four), didn't have the benefit of modern pitch-correcting technology. But as envisioned by Temperley, she had an unshakable self-confidence, fed by legions of admirers.

Chief among those admirers was Foster's accompanist, Cosme McMoon, the other character seen onstage in Souvenir, which opened Thursday at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre. Their unlikely bond is beautifully detailed by performers more accomplished than the folks they play.

"Madame J" is acted and sung by Judy Kaye, whose vocal prowess has graced many productions. But to hear her, as Jenkins, tackle Mozart is to realize your worst fears about how Ashlee Simpson might sound crooning in the shower."


http://www.usatoday.com/life/theater/reviews/2005-11-10-souvenir_x.htm
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
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Jimmcf
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re: Souvenir Reviews#5
Posted: 11/11/05 at 1:19am
I loved it at the York, but I am surprised at the Broadway mounting. I want it to suceed, but it seems to be strugging at the box office....
My mother always used to say, "The older you get, the better you get, unless you're a banana." - Rose Nyland
MargoChanning
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re: Souvenir Reviews#6
Posted: 11/11/05 at 1:20am
NY Post is Mixed:

"WHEN your principal character's claim to fame is her atrociously bad singing, how can you make a show based on her musical exploits anything more than variations on a one-joke theme?

That's the problem faced by Simon Temperley's "Souvenir," a so-called "play with music," starring a brilliantly resourceful Judy Kaye, which opened last night at the Lyceum Theatre.

It affectionately details the strange singing career of that legendary eccentric Florence Foster Jenkins, who was camp even before the concept of camp had been defined.
Certainly, Kaye makes this awesomely awful diva disarmingly cuddly and lovable, while Corren, looking like a seedy but genial James Mason, does a lovely job, both as actor and piano accompanist.

Yet the play's central flaw remains. The real piquancy of the Foster Jenkins joke was: Did she or didn't she? Was it a clever hoax on the public, or was this disastrously voiced soprano truly oblivious of the sounds she was making?

Temperley comes down on the side of innocence, which probably is the truth. Yet I always treasured the hope she might be giggling up her ornamental sleeve at all our superior snobbery.


http://www.nypost.com/entertainment/57237.htm
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
MargoChanning
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re: Souvenir Reviews#7
Posted: 11/11/05 at 1:22am
The Bergen Record is Mixed-to-Positive:

""Souvenir," which opened Thursday night at the Lyceum Theatre, is an affectionate and often amusing play about a cultural oddity of the first half of the 20th century. It's also limited, though, and oddly imbalanced.

Temperley does try to provide some dramatic development - 2 hours 20 minutes is a long time to keep your tongue in your cheek - by charting the evolution of a caring, supportive relationship between the mismatched pair.

This is undercut, though, by the style of performance, particularly Kaye's portrayal of Jenkins. Under the direction of Vivian Matalon, Kaye creates a comic archetype of a society matron, something out of an old New Yorker cartoon.

The actress speaks in exaggerated upper-class tones, punctuated with effete gestures, while her lines punch home the evening's basic joke - Jenkins is dreadful, but thinks she's wonderful. The performance and the play laugh at her, rather than letting the audience find the humor."


http://www.bergen.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxODYmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTY4MTMzNDImeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
MargoChanning
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re: Souvenir Reviews#8
Posted: 11/11/05 at 1:26am
The AP is Positive:

"When does a wrong note sound exactly right? When it's sung by Judy Kaye portraying Florence Foster Jenkins in "Souvenir," Stephen Temperley's funny, warmhearted play with music about New York society's most famous vocally challenged diva.

"What matters most is the music you hear in your head. ... The impossible ideal, as it were," coos Kaye while playing Jenkins, the tone-deaf soprano whose clarion screeching captivated recital audiences more than 60 years ago.

Jenkins' life - and her piercing, ear-shattering performances - have been splendidly captured in this two-character stage biography, which opened Thursday at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre.

To sing beautifully is a gift. To deliberately sing off-key may take even more skill or, at least, more concentration. And Kaye turns hilarious vocal somersaults with the finesse of an acrobat.

The performer has had a curious musical-theater career since she was first noticed on Broadway, taking over for Madeline Kahn in "On the Twentieth Century" in 1978. Kaye then originated roles in the New York companies of "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Mamma Mia!", two of the theater's biggest hits, although, unfortunately, neither show received an original Broadway cast recording. So there are no souvenirs of her performances in those productions.

That's why anyone seriously interested in the art of acting while singing should catch Kaye's artful work in "Souvenir."


http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/entertainment/gossip/13136814.htm
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
MargoChanning
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re: Souvenir Reviews#9
Posted: 11/11/05 at 1:29am
Theatremania is Positive:

"Audiences will laugh so hard at all this that they cry, but they may ultimately shed tears for other reasons. This is a testament to Jenkins and to Judy Kaye's masterful performance. When Souvenir opened at the York Theatre last December, I highly praised Kaye and noted that, "clad in some extremely stylish costumes by Tracy Christensen, she embodies the woman's sincerity." There's no reason to change that view, other than to say Kaye may now be going somewhat overboard in the early scenes. Nonetheless, she's so wonderful that early Tony Award handicappers had better take her into serious consideration. (Costumer Christensen, working with a bigger budget, is even wittier now as Jenkins romps through her Carnegie Hall wardrobe changes. Bravo also to Ann G. Wrightson's lighting and to David Budries' all-important sound design.)

Directed with sophistication and compassion by Vivian Matalon, Souvenir is startlingly improved since its Off-Broadway incarnation at the York Theater. What was then a one-woman show has become a delicately balanced two-hander thanks to the presence of Donald Corren. While Broadway conductor Jack F. Lee was competent at the York, Corren excels at playing the sort of raconteur whose glass tip bowl habitually brims with dollar bills. As animated as Kaye, and looking not unlike Leonard Bernstein, he takes what could be an also-ran part and demonstrates that Temperley has written a helluva sharp two-for-the-seesaw play."


http://www.theatermania.com/content/news.cfm/story/7082
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
MargoChanning
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re: Souvenir Reviews#10
Posted: 11/11/05 at 1:35am
Variety is Positive:

"As anyone who owns "The Glory (????) of the Human Voice" is aware, the Florence Foster Jenkins recording can be an invaluable weapon in the condo wars, unleashed at elevated volume to unnerve the neighbors and set their dogs howling. What's more surprising is that the squawking soprano, who tantalized New York music lovers in the 1930s and '40s with her unwitting desecrations of an ambitious classical repertoire, could prove such a sustained delight as the subject of a play. While this might have been a single-joke recital in other hands, "Souvenir" is hoisted as high as Madame Flo's perilously high C's in Judy Kaye's towering comic performance.
Premiered last season at Off Broadway's York Theater and then seen in a slightly reworked production at the Berkshire Theater Festival this summer, Stephen Temperley's play is in many ways a fragile premise for a two-act stage vehicle, its conflicts only fully surfacing in the final scenes. But his central themes -- the yawning gap that can separate one's self-image from the assessments of others, the dividing line between art and travesty, the not always mutually inclusive components of passion and accomplishment in performance -- are fleshed out in highly entertaining fashion through two classic New York archetypes. The writing could at times be more resourceful, relying too heavily on McMoon to describe events rather than dramatizing them, and shaving 10 or so minutes might benefit the play. But Vivian Matalon's crisp direction keeps it engaging.



http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117928821?categoryid=33&cs=1
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
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popcultureboy
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re: Souvenir Reviews#11
Posted: 11/11/05 at 6:29am
It'll be interesting to see if these great reviews give the show a Sweeney/Jersey Boys style bump at the box office.
Nothing precious, plain to see, don't make a fuss over me. Not loud, not soft, but somewhere inbetween. Say sorry, just let it be the word you mean.
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NYadgal
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re: Souvenir Reviews#12
Posted: 11/11/05 at 8:57am
I hope so, Pop!

I am so excited to see it!
"Two drifters off to see the world. There's such a lot of world to see. . ."
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MasterLcZ
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re: Souvenir Reviews#13
Posted: 11/11/05 at 9:19am
I'm puzzled by Brantley's review. I'm surprised he was not more enthusiastic.
"Christ, Bette Davis?!?!"
BwayTheatre11
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re: Souvenir Reviews#14
Posted: 11/11/05 at 9:24am
I hope this show does well!
CCM '10!
MargoChanning
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re: Souvenir Reviews#15
Posted: 11/11/05 at 2:18pm
Daily News is Positive:

"In less gifted hands, "Souvenir," which is subtitled "A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins," could have been a crude joke.

Instead, with a script by Stephen Temperley and superlative performances by Judy Kaye as Jenkins and Donald Corren as her accompanist - the wonderfully named Cosme McMoon - it makes hilarious and deeply touching theater out of something inherently ridiculous.

What is extraordinary about "Souvenir" is that Temperley has made Jenkins, for all her foolishness, a remarkably sympathetic woman. You never doubt that Jenkins has tremendous dedication to the composers whose work she massacres. Kaye makes her devotion to Art incredibly moving. To have made Jenkins a tender, poignant human being is breathtaking.

Elegantly designed, beautifully directed, "Souvenir" is a kind of loony triumph.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/story/364357p-310257c.html
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
Updated On: 11/11/05 at 02:18 PM
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CaroleeFan
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re: Souvenir Reviews#16
Posted: 11/11/05 at 2:21pm
So Kaye will be eligible for a Best Actress in a Play Tony, correct?
"They hear drums, we hear music."- Passion.
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Michael Bennett
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re: Souvenir Reviews#17
Posted: 11/11/05 at 2:23pm
I think this show is just a hard sell. I'm glad most of the reviews have been positive, but I sense there is just a lack of interest in the material. Hopefully Judy Kaye will be remembered at Tony nomination time.