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BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FORMER PHOENICIAN Phoenix 2007 - Judy Kaye in Souvenir

Judy Kaye's victory here is no mean feat when one considers that local favorite Bob Sorenson, who made his move to the New York stage a couple of years ago, scored raves playing a German transsexual and survivor of Communist Berlin in Arizona Theatre Company's I Am My Own Wife. But we're still chuckling over former Phoenician Kaye's performance as dismal songstress Florence Foster Jenkins in ATC's delightful staging of Souvenir. Kaye, on whose mantel rests a Tony Award for her portrayal of Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera, is the real deal. She appeared in the original Broadway Grease (as a replacement Rizzo) and in numerous film and stage roles before reprising her Broadway performance as La Jenkins, whose abysmal tin-eared warblings were re-created as if Kaye herself weren't a formidable vocalist.

That she was able to make us love Jenkins in spite of her pompous self made this performance all the more worthy of mention. Here's hoping Kaye returns to her old stomping grounds more often.

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