Broadway to Baltimore

The Baltimore Sun

Center Stage announced a change yesterday to the lineup of shows for the current season that will bring Broadway star Judy Kaye to Baltimore to reprise her Tony-nominated performance.

Souvenir, a comic hit on Broadway three years ago, will run in the Pearlstone Theatre from April 24 through May 24. The production replaces The Understudy by Teresa Rebeck, which was unexpectedly snapped up for a New York premiere.

The box office will honor all Understudy vouchers already sold; tickets do not need to be reissued. Audience members should simply show up for the performances specified on their ticket stubs.

"Sometimes when you lose a show you counted on, you wind up with a gift," Irene Lewis, Center Stage's artistic director, said in a news release.

Souvenir by Stephen Temperley is a two-performer show with music that chronicles the real-life escapades of Florence Foster Jenkins. The Manhattan socialite was renowned in the 1930s and 1940s for the recitals she gave - despite her utter dearth of musical talent. Jenkins, who became known as "the Dire Diva of Din," has since become a cult favorite.

The second character in the show is Jenkins' accompanist, who narrates her story, and who reflects on the fragile intersection of art and delusion.

Kaye will reprise her Tony-nominated turn as the vocally challenged songstress. The actress previously won a Tony for her star turn as Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera, and also was nominated for a Tony for her performance in Mama Mia!

"After four plays that deal with serious, challenging issues, I wanted to end the season much as I began it - with something very different (and lighter) in tone," Lewis says. "And, it brings the wonderful Judy Kaye to Baltimore."

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