Naked Stages rings in the holidays with December productions
Naked Stages, the new professional theater wing of Green Room Projects (GRP), will continue its inaugural season by present "Souvenir," a comedy with music by Stephen Temperley, Dec. 6-15 as well as "A Christmas Carol: A Special Holiday Fundraiser," Dec. 20-22 at Belmont's Black Box Theater, 2100 Belmont Boulevard, in Nashville.
"Souvenir," hilarious and poignant, tells the true story of musical novelty, Florence Foster Jenkins, through the eyes of her accompanist, Cosme McMoon. Much like William Hung of American Idol, Jenkins was famous for being under the delusion that she was a great singer when she was actually incapable of hitting in tune.
Veteran Nashville musical star, Ginger Newman (The Rep’s "Evita" and "Pirates of Penzance") and talented newcomer Jeffrey Williams (Street Theater Co.’s "Batboy") bring this delightful comedy with music to sparkling life in a production directed by Richard Northcutt.
Northcutt saw the production in New York and felt it was "one of the funniest and most endearing shows I've ever seen."
"At its heart, 'Souvenir' is a story about two people who, over a period of time, learn what true friendship is all about," he said.
"It's a bit of a love story minus the sex but not the passion. Florence is a singer - or thinks she is - and Cosme is a musician and composer - or thinks he is. She is wealthy; he is not. She needs an accompanist, and he needs a job."
Northcutt has cast the veteran Newman opposite the newcomer Williams and is very happy with the results. "It's really not possible to do this show without two superb musicians who also have great acting chops. And we are truly fortunate in that regard," he said. "The role of Florence is extremely challenging because it requires someone who is opera-quality, classically trained and has a beautiful, expressive vocal quality. She also has to take wonderful pieces by Verdi, Guonod and other composers and convincingly sing off-key, out-of-tune and without regard to tempo. That's a Herculean task. On top of all of that, she has to be a spot-on comedienne, so casting this role is very difficult."
Mark Cabus (The Rep’s "Inherit the Wind" and "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?") returns by popular demand in his acclaimed one-man performance of "A Christmas Carol." This favorite is back after a five-year absence with only three special Holiday performances.
Cabus’ interpretation avoids sugary sentimentality as he portrays all 34 characters from Ebenezer Scrooge to Tiny Tim. This is a gala, year-end fundraiser so live Holiday music and delicious food and desserts will make this the newest of Nashville’s Yuletide traditions.
“I haven't performed this full-length version in more than four years,” said Cabus. “Since then, I've toured an abridged version of the play to over 10,000 students in high schools, middle schools, colleges and universities throughout the Middle Tennessee area.”
Tickets for each show are $20 and can be purchased through the Belmont University ticket system. Substantial discounts are available to patrons who purchase tickets from members of the group’s ensemble prior to opening night. Information on other discounts for groups, students and seniors is available by contacting GRP.
Visit the company’s Website at www.greenroomprojects.org for more information about the company, its outreach and the Naked Stages season.