Patrick B. McGuigan, Arts and Entertainment Critic
Molly Cason Johnson portrays Florence Foster Jenkins in the Painted Sky Opera’s production of “Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins.” Johnson delivers a spectacular performance as one of the oddest celebrities in New York City history.
Stephen Temperley’s story is alternately uproarious and (at the end of each act) loving and tender toward its subjects.
Joey Harbert is self-effacing as Henderson’s accompanist, Cosme McMoon. His piano work is sharp, his voice pleasing to the ear, and his lanky frame perfectly suited to the fine interpretation he brings to the show.
The two singers/performers, in combination with spare set-pieces, do a fine job of evoking the Depression Era/World War II setting of the Big Apple.
There are no bad seats in the confines of the intimate CitySpace venue at the downtown Civic Center. Director Rob Glaubitz has guided the proceedings deftly. He and Barbara Fox DeMaio, founder of our city’s professional opera company, are bringing new and welcome quality shows for music-lovers, and serious opportunities for home-grown performers to earn their way in the challenging arena of opera.
Performances are scheduled this weekend: Friday March 2, and Saturday, March 3 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 4 at 2 p.m. (The 2017-18 season will conclude in May with Jake Heggie’s “Three Decembers”.)
“Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins” is the second show in Painted Sky Opera’s 2017-18 season. Tickets are $30 for adults, with discounts for students, military, and seniors available in-person at the box office. Purchase advance tickets online at the Civic Center website at http://www.okcciviccenter.com or by visiting or calling their box office at 405.297.2264.
The last few minutes of “Souvenir” is, as they say in show-biz, worth the price of admission. Don’t miss it. The production, which opened with strong presentations last weekend, continues this weekend with evening performances Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3, and a Sunday, March 4 2p.m. matinee to close the run.