Gina Wilhelm Actress – Singing Badly On Purpose
Neva Rae Powers is an excellent singer with a terrific resume: Anna in “The King and I,” Dorothy Brock in “42nd Street,” Aunt March in “Little Women.”
You won’t know that, however, from her performance in “Souvenir,” which opened Friday in the Studio Theatre at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.
In that play, she portrays Florence Foster Jenkins, a socialite who believed she had a beautiful singing voice. Jenkins was sadly mistaken.
The wealthy woman was her own producer, booking agent, and costume designer.
Powers finds the role a challenge. She has to take her extensive training and “warp” it, distorting vowels and intentionally singing above or below pitch.
She also draws inspiration from memories of her late husband’s worst voice students.
Powers enjoys the irony of having spent an entire career training just so she can sing poorly now.