BENNINGTON, VT—Oldcastle Theatre Company opens its 50th season on June 17, 2022 with “Souvenir—A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins” by Stephen Temperley, directed by Nathan Stith. The play tells the imagined story of the real-life wealthy socialite and musical cult-figure Florence Foster Jenkins, who suffered under the delusion that she was a great coloratura soprano. Unfortunately, she couldn’t sing at all. Despite this, or maybe because of it, her annual concerts at the Ritz Carlton hotel brought her extraordinary fame where audience members stuffed their handkerchiefs in their mouths to stifle their laughter—which Ms. Jenkins blissfully mistook for cheers. Her celebrity brought her all the way to a solo performance at Carnegie Hall in 1944. Told through the eyes of her longtime accompanist Cosme McMoon, “Souvenir” is a touching and hilarious story of an eccentric woman who believes so strongly in her talent that she convinces us all of the beauty heard in her head all along.
Kaia Monroe is set to portray Florence Foster Jenkins. Her regional credits include Elm Shakespeare, Ivoryton Playhouse, Yale Institute for Music Theatre, Music Theatre of CT, Weston Playhouse, Missouri Rep, the Fulton, Geva, Texas Shakespeare, and the Kennedy Center. She holds an MFA from University of Missouri-Kansas City, and completed post-graduate study at Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre.
Tim Howard returns to Oldcastle Theatre Company to play accompanist Cosme McMoon. This is his 11th show as either an actor, director or music director. Highlights: Broadway National Tour: SHOW BOAT (Jake) directed by Harold Prince, PARADE (J.N. Starnes) directed by Harold Prince, conducted by Jason Robert Brown, LEACHMAN AND HOWARD: TOGETHER AT LAST! (Two-person show with Cloris Leachman), HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (ABC Television-workshop), ABELARD AND HELOISE (Roundabout Theatre) and PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES (Oldcastle). His direction of BIG RIVER (Oldcastle) received Berkshire Theatre Award nominations. This year, Broadway World awarded his direction for THE RADIUM GIRLS. He also received National Outstanding Direction Awards for PARADE, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, and EVITA by Kennedy Center (KCACTF).
“Souvenir” is directed by Artistic Director, Nathan Stith with scenic design and costumes by Ken Mooney, lighting design by Michael Giannitti, and sound design by Cory Wheat. The production stage manager is Kristine Schlachter.
The production runs June 17–26 at Bennington Performing Arts Center—The Home of Oldcastle Theatre Company, 331 Main Street in Bennington, VT. Tickets are $25–$35. Performances are Wednesday–Saturday at 7:30 pm and Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm, with a Pay What You Will night on Wednesday, June 22. Face masks are required when in the building. Get tickets online at oldcastletheatre.org/tickets, by phone at 802-447-0564, or in person 90 minutes prior to each performance.