The real socialite and singer, Florence Foster Jenkins, left, greets some of her fans after a performance. (submitted)

VIDEO: ‘Glorious’ at the Chemainus Theatre tells the story of the worst singer in the world

Socialite Florence Foster Jenkins was the darling of NYC even though her singing was terrible

Glorious, the outrageously hilarious comedy about the worst singer in the world, brings the story of Florence Foster Jenkins to life on the Chemainus Theatre stage Sept. 14 to Oct. 6.

We’ve all wanted to follow our dream one day. This gal did.

Known as “the first lady of the sliding scale”, Jenkins’ charm lies somewhere between Norma Desmond and Lucille Ball.

During the Second World War, the amateur singer and flamboyant socialite was the squeaky soprano du jour, singing her way into the hearts of New York society.

Among her well-known admirers were composer Cole Porter, opera star Enrico Caruso, and English conductor Sir Thomas Beecham.

She began her musical career as a talented pianist, even playing a recital at the White House for President Rutherford B. Hayes, but an injured arm forced her to change her career path.

Enter the singer.

Jenkins, certain of her talent as a soprano, claimed she had been inspired to sing after Caruso heard her and said he had “never heard anything like it.”

Others were appalled by her performances.

Yet the diva had many fans who happily bought a ticket for one of her concerts. Some of those who loved her despite her voice were inclined to explain the bad singing as a side effect of medical treatment that included mercury and arsenic, which affected her central nervous system and hearing.

For her part, Jenkins was certain that any who jeered at her performances were rivals consumed by “professional jealousy”.

First premiering on London’s West End in 2005, the show won a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best New Comedy. This hilarious true story has now played on stages in more than 40 countries and 27 languages.

It’s the real deal.

In this Chemainus production, Florence Foster Jenkins will be played by Beverley Elliott, most recently known for her role as Granny in ABC TV’s Once Upon A Time.

Elliott is a multi-talented performer whose musical, theatrical, and comedic experience make her perfect to play this hilarious leading lady, under the direction of Ian Farthing

There are both matinee and evening shows for all ages so call the box office at 1-800-565-7738 or visit chemainustheatre.ca to book your tickets.

Show enhancements are available and include free “talk-backs” with the cast and crew following Wednesday performances, a special show-themed dinner in the Playbill Dining Room, and accommodation package at the Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn that includes a deluxe breakfast buffet, use of the indoor mineral pool, hot tub, and fitness centre.

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