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Souvenir - A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins
 
Played 19th December, 2008- 4th January, 2009 at The Actors Studio @ Bangsar Shopping Centre
Directed by Richard Gardner Produced by Chae Lian
 
Souvenir - A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins Canadian singer Gabrielle Maes made her Malaysian debut in Stephen Temperley's award-winning SOUVENIR: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins. Directed by Richard Harding Gardner, the two-man Broadway comedy also starred Llew Marsh as the faithful pianist-sidekick, Cosme McMoon.
 
SYNOPSIS
Remember William Hung of American Idol? The singer who couldn't? And who then went on to make records and tour the world - including Genting!? Well, he wasn't the first!

Florence Jenkins - an American soprano who couldn't hit or sustain a note - sold out concerts for years, and gave her final concert to a packed 3,000 seat Carnegie Hall! Her annual recitals in New York's Ritz Carlton Hotel brought her extraordinary fame... and gales of laughter! As news of her terrible singing spread, so did her celebrity. She developed a growing mob of fans who not only packed her recitals but also stuffed handkerchiefs in their mouths to stifle their laughter — which Mrs. Jenkins blissfully mistook for cheers!

The Drama Desk Award-winning SOUVENIR: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins tells her story through the eyes of her talented accompanist, Cosme McMoon, who chronicles her unlikely rise to fame — and his gradual admiration of her passionate will — in hilarious and poignant detail. The play SOUVENIR, which premiered in New York in 2005 and has now played all over the world, is being presented by Gardner & Wife at The Actors Studio starting Friday, 19th December, 2008.

Want to hear just how bad she was? Check her out on YouTube! It should be a fun evening!
 
CAST
GABRIELLE MAES as Florence Foster Jenkins
Canadian singer Gabrielle Maes grew up in Montreal and Holland. After many years of studying piano with famed Israeli teacher Shoshana Cohen, she decided to focus on her second instrument and complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advanced Vocal training from Concordia University in Montreal. While attending Concordia, Ms Maes won the coveted Mills Purchase Prize for Best Performing Artist. She went on to win three consecutive scholarships at the prestigious Abingdon School of Music in England.

Gabrielle is a versatile musician singing everything from classical opera and choral works to 20th century music and American song. In her career she has debuted pieces written specifically for her including works by the avant-garde French director Pierre Carniaux. While in Paris, she wrote and performed a three-person cabaret, which she has since adapted to the one-woman BEDRAGGLED which ran at the historical Balustrade Theatre in downtown Montreal.

Her love of voice has led her to explore many styles of music, and she worked as soloist in the well-known Negroe Spiritual group Voices in Paris as well as with some of Montreal's finest jazz musicians.

LLEW MARSH as Cosme McMoon
A well-known Creative Director within Kuala Lumpur cabaret circles, Llew has worked with Sean Ghazi, Mia Palencia and Joanne Kam Poh Poh at a range of venues including Starhill, Alexis Ampang, No Black Tie, The Attic, Bangkok Jazz and 1919 Piano Bar & Bistro.

He was also the Musical Director and Arranger for OPS OPHELIA: A FASHION OPERA and ASPECTS OF BROADWAY which won the Kakiseni Audience Choice Awards in 2004 and 2002 respectively

As a performer, his favourite roles include "Apostle" in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, "Hysterium" in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, "Eddie" in A SLICE OF SATURDAY NIGHT, "Harpagon" in THE MISER, "Freddy Eysford-Hill" in PYGMALION: A MUSICAL, "Tybalt/Benedict" in ROMI DAN JOOLEE, "A.P." in CINDERELLA: A ROCKIN' PANTO and "The Freshman" in SCORPION ORCHID.

Llew teaches the Introduction & Intermediate Musical Theatre Course at KLPAC Academy as well as Adjudicates on the Musical Theatre Panel for the Cameronian Arts Awards.