Limelight Actors Theater had a perfect plan for its spring show: Souvenir, a 2006 play by Stephen Temperley that featured the relationship between New York socialite Florence Foster Jenkins, who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, and her accompanist, Cosme McMoon. A movie treatment starring Meryl Streep came out last year and Limelight owners Kevin Heath and Alan Obata thought they’d be able to piggyback on that to bring audiences in.
But life interfered. The actor set to play McMoon had a family illness to contend with, and Souvenir got bumped from the lineup.
Instead, Heath turned to Diane Milo, a Bay Area actress and director, to put together a series of cabaret performances by several performers in her sphere. Over the four-weekend run of the show, the D-Cup Divas, Morgan Dayley, Milo and James Greer, Glenna Murillo and Adrien Gleason, and Kristina Nakagawa will deliver musical theater and jazz tunes.
“The way we cast, a year in advance, we knew with a replacement show we would have to hurry and put things together,” said Heath. “Our director, Diane, said I know all these singers up in San Jose. I said why don’t we do a bunch of people and do a different set every night?”
With the exception of Murillo and Gleason, each act will perform twice over the run of the show.
“There will certainly be some musical theater songs, some jazz songs, a comedy element, a serious element,” said Heath. “The reason it fits so well with what we do is there’s a little comedy, a little drama, and a lot of music.”
The performers all are well known in the South Bay area and are looking forward to a chance to shine in the more intimate dinner-theater setting of Limelight.
Heath has seen most of the performers in action, but not all. “I gave carte blanche to Diane Milo,” he said. “She knows voices. We’ve worked together enough to know what level I expect on my stage. I just want to show the best of the best. She has a huge pool of talent up north.”
The shows also will be a benefit for Avon 39, The Walk to End Breast Cancer, for which the D-Cup Divas have previously raised money. Five dollars from each ticket sale will go to the walk.
“It worked out perfectly for us,” said Heath.
Limelight Cabaret. April 7-29, Gilroy Center for the Arts, 7341 Monterey Road, Gilroy. Tickets $25. 408.472.3292; www.limelightactorstheater.com