“GIRL SINGER” COMES HOME IN CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE IN THE PARK’S PRODUCTION OF
TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL,
NOV. 15 – DEC. 28, 2014
(CINCINNATI) – No matter where in the world her voice and fortunes took her, Rosemary Clooney always came home. And that’s the case yet again with TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL, which debuts Nov. 15 through Dec. 28 in the Playhouse’s intimate Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre.
For Artistic Director Blake Robison, who is directing TENDERLY, bringing Rosemary “home” to the Tristate is particularly significant. “Everyone I’ve met in Cincinnati feels a special kinship with the Clooney family,” he says. “Rosemary is a local treasure. She’s one of us.”
TENDERLY’S hometown roots extend to its co-authors as well. Written by Cincinnati playwrights Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, TENDERLY was first featured at the New Works Festival 2010 at the Human Race Theatre in Dayton, Ohio. It had its stage premiere in a Broadway Series production at Dayton’s Victoria Theatre in 2012. The Playhouse version is new, explains Robison: “Mark and Janet have expanded the piece to two acts. There are more classic songs and more scenes from her life.”
Those songs, 17 in all, include her signature hits “White Christmas,” “Tenderly” and “Come On-A My House” (the latter of which she almost refused to record — and which, ironically, rocketed her to fame).
Rosemary Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky, shortly before the Depression. She began her singing career at age 16 with her younger sister Betty on WLW radio in 1945, which then became a launching pad for the sister act to tour the country with the Tony Pastor Band. At 21, Rosemary went solo, and soon a star was born.
Her voice also brought her to movie fame — she appeared in a handful of films, including the iconic holiday classic White Christmas. In the midst of her burgeoning career, she married veteran theatre and film actor José Ferrer in 1953 and gave birth to their five children between 1955 and 1960. The decade that followed brought a divorce from her stormy marriage, an increasing dependency on drugs that helped to fuel an emotional breakdown and a decline in her career.
But that was far from the final chapter. In succeeding years, Rosemary reinvented herself with therapy, the renewal of an old love affair and a new focus on a jazz and American songbook repertoire that resonated to the end of her life.
“Rosemary’s story is remarkable and inspirational,” Robison says of Clooney, who “saw herself as a ‘girl singer.’ This production captures the ups and downs of her career in an honest, celebratory manner. It has an incredible song list of her greatest hits, and the scenes are packed with stories of her home life, family, her time in Cincinnati and her life in Hollywood. I’ve been inspired by the depth of her talent, the longevity of her career and her personal resilience.”
Susan Haefner, whose Broadway credits include State Fair, Thoroughly Modern Millie and 42nd Street, makes her Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park debut as Rosemary Clooney. Michael Marotta, who was seen in last season’s Playhouse production of Cabaret as Herr Schultz, portrays The Doctor. The creative team for TENDERLY includes music director Scot Woolley, set designer Bill Clarke, costume designer Bill Black, lighting designer Phil Monat, sound designer Jeremy J. Lee and choreographer Dee Anne Bryll. Jenifer Morrow is the production stage manager, and Becky Merold is the stage manager.
TENDERLY is sponsored by Clark, Schaefer, Hackett & Co. and Moe and Jack Rouse. The Geiler Company is the design sponsor, and the Morse and Betty Johnson Family is the Rosemary Clooney artist sponsor. This production honors the support of Lee Meyer.
Ticket prices for TENDERLY start at $30. Prices are subject to change, and patrons are encouraged to buy early for the best seats at the best prices. Teen and student tickets are $30 each. The show is recommended for adults and teenage audiences.
New for the 2014-15 season is Sunday College Night, with tickets to all 7 p.m. Sunday performances (not including A Christmas Carol) priced at just $10 with a valid student ID. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show for all other performances.
Previews for TENDERLY are at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15; 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19. The official opening night is Thursday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m.
Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays.
Additionally, free Meet the Artists programs that allow audiences to interact with the cast and others associated with the production will be held after the following performances: 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10; and 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18.
The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs and complete wheelchair access are available.
Tickets to TENDERLY are on sale now. For more information, call the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888 (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at 800-582-3208) or visit www.cincyplay.com. Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility.
The 2014-15 Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre Series is presented by the Heidelberg Distributing Company, and Humana is the Thompson Shelterhouse season design sponsor. The season sponsor of new work is The Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation.
The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of the community contributors to the ArtsWave campaign.
The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Playhouse with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
The Playhouse also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.