Lifestyle

‘Glorious!’ debuts at Whidbey Playhouse on Friday

Actress Gaye Litka plays socialite Florence Jenkins in “Glorious!,” the real-life story of the world’s worst opera singer. - Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times
Actress Gaye Litka plays socialite Florence Jenkins in “Glorious!,” the real-life story of the world’s worst opera singer.
— image credit: Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times

In 1940’s New York, the singer everyone wanted to see was Florence Foster Jenkins, a soprano whose pitch was far from perfect.

This weekend audiences at Whidbey Playhouse will watch as directors Julia Locke and Sue Riney give homage to this eccentric socialite with the musical comedy, “Glorious!”

In this true life tale, Jenkins screeched her way through performances to an audience who mostly fell apart with laughter.

Jenkins was born in 1868, to wealthy parents Charles and Mary Foster. Throughout her life, they refused to help their daughter become a singer, so upon her father’s death in 1909, Jenkins inherited a sum of money that allowed her to begin a singing career.

Despite her lack of talent, Jenkins had an unshakable confidence. And her inner circle of devoted (and quirky) friends were just as convinced.

Jenkins had an astoundingly successful career, singing to packed hotels and concert halls.

“Audience reaction to Florence Foster Jenkins is not surprising, even today in an age of political correctness,” directors Locke and Riney wrote in the play’s program. “Think of the early rounds of American Idol.”

While many called her deluded, Peter Quilter’s “Glorious!” is also a heartwarming story of a woman who ignored the critics and simply followed her dreams.

“People may say that I cannot sing, but no one can say that I didn’t sing!” Jenkins famously said.

“Glorious!” opens Friday, Feb. 6 at Oak Harbor’s Whidbey Playhouse, 730 SE Midway Blvd. Tickets are $16. The show continues Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with a 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee.

For more information on dates, tickets and times visit www.whidbeyplayhouse.com, or call 679-2237.

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