Florida Rep Salutes Rosemary Clooney in TENDERLY
Florida Repertory Theatre is pleased to announce the opening of "Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical" by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, a personal and poignant portrait of the woman whose unparalleled talent and unbridled personality made her a legend! Playing December 21- February 24 in the ArtStage Studio Theatre, the run includes four nearly sold out preview performances December 18-20.
"This musical is a wonderful tribute to one of the most recognizable voices of the 20th Century," said Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen, "and we are so pleased to have the original cast with us here in Southwest Florida. Many people don't know Rosemary's life story which touched so many lives, and this musical shows us what a strong woman she was. She sang some of the most beloved music that defined the 1940s and 1950s, and hers is a story of courage and resilience that audiences will love."
Florida Rep's production reunites original cast members Susan Haefner and Michael Marotta, who originated these roles in the 2014 world-premiere production at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.
"Tenderly" looks back at Rosemary's modest Maysville, Kentucky childhood and follows her rise to Hollywood and recording stardom before the advent of rock 'n' roll and a battle with depression and addiction threatened her career. Clooney's signature songs are woven in and out of the story as audiences learn about her professional successes as well as her struggles - and cheer for her triumphant comeback. With over 20 of her most beloved hits, the score is itself a salute to the golden age of music, and features all the songs that made Rosemary famous, like "Hey There," "Sisters," "Botch-a-Me," "Mambo Italiano," and of course, "Tenderly."
Regional theatre and New York veteran, Susan Haefner, makes her Florida Rep debut as Rosemary Clooney after originating the role in Cincinnati and appearing in two subsequent regional productions. Frequent Florida Rep guest artist, Michael Marotta, takes on multiple roles in the production, including Bing Crosby, José Ferrer, Frank Sinatra, Clooney's psychiatrist, and even her mother and sister, Betty. New York-based, Marotta, appears in the role for the 6th time with this production and was seen most recently in Florida Rep's "Cabaret" last March.
Also making her Florida Rep debut is Director Eleanor Holdridge, who's worked at major regional companies across the country and holds an MFA in directing from Yale. In addition to her extensive work as a director, Holdridge is Head of Directing at Catholic University of America's Department of Drama. Musical Director Victoria Casella (Florida Rep's "Night and Day" and "Spelling Bee") and Choreographer MK Lawson (Florida Rep debut) join Holdridge to lead an expert creative team, including Resident Set Designer Jordan Moore (Florida Rep's "Damascus"), Costume Designer Charlene Gross (Florida Rep's "Night and Day"), Ensemble Lighting Designer Todd O. Wren (Florida Rep's "How the Other Half Loves"), Sound Designer Katie Lowe (Florida Rep's "Damascus"), and Ensemble Stage Manager Amy Massari ("Florida Rep's "Becoming Dr. Ruth").
Tickets are available online at www.FloridaRep.org and through the box office at 239-332-4488 and are priced at $55 for regular performances and $35 for discounted previews. Subscriptions start as low as $150 for six plays and offer the best seats and the most significant savings, and are available through the box office. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 AM - 5 PM. New this season, Florida Rep's parking lot will open 2 hours before each performance and offers guests limited free parking across the street from the Arcade Theatre. Performances are Tue-Thu at 7 PM, Fri and Sat at 8 PM, and 2 PM on Thur, Sat, and Sun. There are no performances on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
"Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical" by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman is generously sponsored by Sam Galloway Ford Lincoln.
Florida Repertory Theatre performs in the Historic Arcade Theatre and the ArtStage Studio Theatre on Bay St. between Jackson & Hendry with limited free parking in the Fort Myers River District. Visit Florida Rep online at www.FloridaRep.org, and by following the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Photo Credit: Joe Dafeldecker / Florida Repertory Theatre