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a Comedy
by Peter Quilter

COMPANY : Centerstage North Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Art Place - Mountain View
ID# 3490

SHOWING : May 07, 2010 - May 15, 2010



The joyful Florence Foster Jenkins had a passion for singing, but a voice of disastrous proportions which left audiences crying with laughter. Spinning from her bizarre recording sessions, unbelievable recitals and an ultimate triumph at New York's Carnegie Hall - this is a true, heart-warming story about a group of eccentric friends who lived their dreams. The triumphant West End production starred Maureen Lipman and was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award as Best New Comedy.
"A delightful, blissfully funny hit."—Daily Telegraph
"Hilarious and touching."—Daily Mail
"A glittering comedy with a heart."—Sunday Times

Director Jaimes Lee
Dorothy Cheryl Baer
Mrs. Verrender Gedge Judith Beasley
Cosme Jeffrey Bigger
Maria Stacy Bowers
Florence Foster Jenkins Phyllis Giller
St. Clair Dan Rich
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


A couple of degrees off center
by Steve Rhinehart
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I have wondered many times just why this play was even written. After seeing CenterStage North’s production, I am still wondering. I have now added to my musings the question of why they chose to do the play.

The evening began with a curtain speech, which resembled a Jay Leno monologue, in length, but lacked the comedy and the holding power. The director, Jaimes Lee, a lovely young lady who, unless my eyes deceived me, could not be old enough to have gained much experience in directing, seemed in an extremely talkative mood.

As to the performance,it seemed to be a couple of degrees off center most of the time. While it was well enough done to elicit laughter at most of the appropriate times, it definitely lacked the energy and drive required to captivate and hold the audience.

In the lead, Phyllis Giller was far and away the bright ray in an otherwise quasi cloudy evening. To say the least, her portrayal of Florence Foster Jenkins was brilliantly carried to great heights by this talented lady.

The timeless Jeffrey Bigger, who normally can be counted upon to save a lackluster performance, seemed, at least to me, to be there only for the purpose of delivering his lines. In all fairness, his performance was adequate, but it lacked the fire he normally brings to the stage.

The rest of the cast also performed adequately. Daniel Rich was the imbibing British boy friend, and was joined by Cheryl Baer as Florence’s friend and admirer, Judith Beasley as her nemesis, and Stacy Bowers as her defiant and back-talking Mexican maid. I cannot criticize what they did, but what they did not do. I was left with the impression that they had little feeling for the play.

The sight of the lovely and petite Mrs. Lee (I assume the Stage Manager, Brandon Lee, to be her husband), in her lovely dress and high heels, moving furniture and set pieces during the four, (count ‘em- four) blackouts, definitely smacked of amateurism. She looked so out of place in the role of stage hand, I was tempted to jump up and do it for her.

In this writer’s opinion, the best thing about this play, aside from Mrs. Giller’s delightful portrayal of Florence, was the fact that CenterStage North seems to have gotten rid of, at least temporarily, those accursed cubes which have been used to supplant director imagination in too many recent productions.

Maybe they had a bad night. Go see it for yourself. It is worth the price of admission to see and hear Mrs. Giller.

To be sure, the audience, for the most part, appeared to enjoy the play. And, in reality, is that not what community theater is all about?

The Scene Stealer
Unexpected reaction by Steve Rhinehart
Someone sent me, via "copy and paste". Mrs. Sarah Mitchell's response to my observation regarding the "cubes" which have been used in three recent productions at that venue.
First, let me say that my comments on the cubes were more "tongue-in-cheek" than they were serious. I am sorry they did not come across that way.
I sincerely hope Ms. Mitchell is not serious in her response. If she is, I must say that I would have expected a more mature reaction.
My apologies to her if she took offense, at my failed attempt at humor.


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