A girl with a voice like pure sunshine, born and raised in poverty in Maysville, Kentucky, is issuing an invitation to "Come on a My House" and you'd be wise to accept. That gal is one of America's favorite song birds, who called Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Kennedy and Merv Griffin close personal friends. A portrait of her life, the sunny days and the lunar eclipse that darkened many of her nights, is being displayed in all its trials and triumphs at Ivoryton Playhouse until Sunday, November 13.
Come learn about a simple girl with a big dream, who looked for laughter and love and found loneliness and loss, who sang like a nightingale with warmth and honesty, and experienced more ups and downs in life than the carnival's roller coaster. Music is woven in, out and around this personal story by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, "Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical" and it is revealing in all its intimate details about one of America's singing sweethearts.
Kim Rachelle Harris is Rosie, a wonderful artist who brings her to life with sincerity and grace. She sings like an angel and creates her with poignancy and power. The daughter of a mother who abandons her and an alcoholic father who was also absent, Rosemary and her sister Betty were forced to support themselves at an early age. Entering and winning a talent contest saved them from starvation and started them early on a career that for Rosie would span decades.
We learn about her big band time, her love affairs and marriages, her successes on the stage and in films, and her addictions to pills that threatened everything she had. Along the way we are blessed with a multitude of songs, like "Sisters," "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "Botch-a-Me," "How About You?" and "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?"
Michael Marotta does a yeoman job as a multitude of characters in Rosie's life, from her personal therapist after she has a nervous breakdown, to her mother, her sister Betty, her husband Jose Ferrer and more, all with a scarf, a pocketbook, a hat or a pipe. An onstage orchestra of Daniel Brandt, Matt McCauley and Connie Coghlan provides great backup for the parade of tunes. Brian Feehan directs and choreographs this involving show that proves Rosemary Clooney when she sings "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues."
For tickets ($50, senior $45, student $22, child $17), call the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Come learn the legacy, the challenges and the courage, that Rosemary Clooney gathered around her and gave so generously to the world. She will be well remembered and loved.