A different set of acting challenges exist for Petrarca, who must combine a narrator's art with a comedian's timing while demonstrating a professional musician's piano skills. McMoon must carry much of the first act, communicating directly with the audience in an opening monologue that recalls his meeting Jenkins years earlier when he was an aspiring young composer in need of funds.
Petrarca's McMoon transitions from a middle-age bar pianist to a believable, brash 24-year-old musician who initially is appalled at Jenkins' screeching and astonished to realize that she is oblivious to her vocal shortcomings.
Jim Treanor musing about the mystique of Florence Foster Jenkins, from DC Theatre Scene's review of the same show:
And so Cosmé sits down at the piano, and Florence opens her mouth and emits a lethal injection of music. No – that’s not right. Music is an act of harmony with nature, but what Florence sings is a declaration of war against God. It is the caterwauling of cats in heat, it is a pack of dogs baying after an ambulance, it is a gaggle of insane dentists, high on nitrous oxide and bent on revenge against their unsedated patients. If it is music, then the sound of jackhammers is music, or the bawling of politicians, or the droning of preachers sermonizing after an all-night bender. It is pigs being slaughtered, it is aural waterboarding, it is a hoarding of misery.Souvenir, of course, is Stephen Temperley's wonderful homage to the unique and dreadful Florence Foster Jenkins and her enigmatic pianist Cosme McMoon. Souvenir runs until June 5 at the Bay Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland.
More Cosme on the Collaborative Piano Blog:
An Interview With Cosme McMoon
Was Cosme McMoon Really Edwin McArthur?
Accompanist for Florence Foster Jenkins, a Poem by Darren Morris