Acclaimed Actor-Pianist Stephen Houtz Comments on “Souvenir”

Photo by Jason Underferth
Photo by Jason Underferth
Photo by Jason Underferth

Photo by Jason Underferth

The Commonweal Theatre Company in Lanesboro is a major destination for top-notch stagecraft in greater Minnesota. Their current production of Souvenir by Stephen Temperley is based on the singing career of a Manhattan socialite who actually had a terrible singing voice. You may be aware of the new film about this woman, Florence Foster Jenkins with Meryl Streep. On the Lansesboro stage, Stela Burdt plays the role and Stephen Houtz plays Cosme McMoon, her piano accompanist.

Director Alan Bailey says that Houtz has an encyclopedic knowledge of opera and opera divas in particular. Houtz, himself, comments, “As we were rehearsing this show we discovered that, in many ways, it’s really Cosme’s story. Since the play is a memory play with Cosme telling of his experiences with Madame Jenkins 20 years after the fact, I am actually the character who changes and, in the end, comes around to Florence’s view of art, and the purpose of music. Going on that journey in every performance is a delight; it reaffirms my own view of music.”

Through Sept. 3
Commonweal Theatre Company, 208 Parkway Ave. N, Lanesboro, MN


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