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Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

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Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

Post by Nicky80 on Mon Nov 17 2014, 06:15

Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

"We've been really lucky," Mark Friedman says.
Scan through his bio and you'll see what he's talking about. He and creative partner Janet Yates Vogt have had their musicals produced in theaters all over the globe. For most theatergoers, these longtime Cincinnati-based collaborators – they've worked together for nearly 30 years – are unknowns. Most of their work, you see, is TYA – theater for young audiences.
Thursday night, that may just change. That's when their newest creation, "Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical" opens in the Cincinnati Playhouse's Thompson Shelterhouse Theater.
This is a decidedly grown-up show in a decidedly big-time venue.
"The Playhouse is a big deal," Friedman says. "We're elated." This isn't the hollow gushing that people associate with "showbiz people." Friedman and Vogt are over the moon about this engagement.
They know success. Their musical "How I Became a Pirate" has been performed in nearly 400 theaters since 2009. Their shows are produced well over 100 times a year.
But this is different.
"We've had such great success with characters like Rapunzel and Anne of Green Gables and Snow White," Vogt says. "But putting this show together, we had to work in a very different way. Rosemary Clooney isn't a fictional character."
They'd been toying around with creating a biographical musical for several years. But they never seemed to be able to find the right person. They both have a particular interest in local history, so that narrowed the field a little.
"Then, somehow Rosemary Clooney came up," Friedman recalls.
Friedman was more attracted to Clooney's jazz recordings than to the pop songs that provided her greatest fame. Vogt, though, had a particularly personal connection to Clooney's music.
"When I was 12 or 13, I would play 'Tenderly' while my father sang it to my mother," Vogt says. "I have really wonderful memories of that. So when Mark and I first started talking about doing a show about Rosemary, it seemed like it was my destiny."
In 2010, Dayton's Human Race Theatre did a "developmental presentation" of the show. After nearly two years of tinkering and rewriting, Human Race presented a one-act version of the show as part of the Victoria Theatre's subscription season.
The production was well-received. But it didn't take hold the way Friedman and Vogt had hoped.
"We weren't sure what to do with it," Friedman says. "We hoped there would be theaters waiting in line to produce it. But that didn't happen."
Jump forward a year. Playhouse artistic director Blake Robison and his artistic staff were cobbling together a new season.
"We were trying to find the perfect thing for the Shelterhouse during the holiday season," Robison says. "But it wasn't happening. It was really frustrating."
With "A Christmas Carol" scheduled to return to the Marx Theatre mainstage, they were looking for something that was festive, but not completely filled with holiday sentiment.
Then associate artist Timothy Douglas, director of the Playhouse's current production of "Safe House," recalled something about a Rosemary Clooney show.
"We started Googling and I was pleasantly surprised that Mark and Janet were right here," Robison says. "Instead of getting on the phone, which is what I normally have to do, I could sit down with them and meet face to face. It was perfect."
In the end, Robison opted to direct what is now a two-act show himself. It's not that he regards himself as Mr. Musical. Indeed, he can easily go four or five years without directing a musical production. This show, though, held a very different opportunity for him.
"I was interested in using our work together on this show to get to know Cincinnati better," Robison says. "I think the Clooney spirit infuses this community. Everyone I meet either knows the Clooneys or knows some Clooney story. So for me, the process has been one of delving into the play that Mark and Janet wrote and through that process, getting to know my new city a little better."
It's not that he hasn't learned oodles about Cincinnati since coming here three years ago. He meets people constantly and is involved with the area in many different ways.
"But I'm a theater director. Most of what I know I've learned in the theater," he says. "And what I've learned about Cincinnati is that there is a tremendous sense of home and ownership of our roots and families that is much stronger here than I have felt in other communities."
And that sentiment, he feels, is at the heart of Rosemary Clooney's up-and-down and then up again career.
"At the end of the day, what Rosemary learns is the value of family and children and grandchildren," Robison says "I find that very moving. There is some kind of lesson in there about yes, you can go home again." ■
If You Go
• What: "Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical"
• When: Previews Nov. 15-19. Opening night Nov. 20. Play runs through Dec. 28, with both evening and matinee performances.
• Where: Playhouse in the Park, Thompson Shelterhouse, 962 Mt. Adams Circle.
• Tickets and information: $30-$85; 513-421-3888; [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Broadway veteran Susan Haefner, who plays Rosemary Clooney in "Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical" at Playhouse in the Park Nov. 15-Dec. 28, places a rose on Clooney's grave at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Maysville on Oct. 23 during a field trip of Clooney sites. (Photo: Provided)


Fullscreen
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Nick Clooney, at the Rosemary Clooney House Museum in Augusta, meets Susan Haefner, the woman who will play his sister in "Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical" at Playhouse in the Park. Michael Marotta, right, also stars in the play. (Photo: Provided)

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Nicky80
Casamigos with Mr Clooney

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Re: Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

Post by it's me on Mon Nov 17 2014, 13:12

nice article
thanks!

it's me
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Re: Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

Post by Joanna on Sun Nov 23 2014, 14:12

Is there anyone here who has seen this show ?

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Re: Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

Post by Joanna on Sun Nov 23 2014, 14:16

Nick Clooney talks about his sister Rosemary



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Re: Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

Post by melbert on Sun Nov 23 2014, 14:57

To have that love of a sibling...

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Re: Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

Post by MM on Sun Dec 14 2014, 00:59

I really would like to see the show, but I cannot do so at this time.  The show has been held over due to great demand. Coolio

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Re: Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

Post by melbert on Sun Dec 14 2014, 01:30

Nice to see you MM!

Good news on the show!

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Re: Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

Post by LornaDoone on Sun Dec 14 2014, 03:07

Lovely sentiments and remembrances by Nick.

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Re: Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

Post by MM on Thu Dec 18 2014, 00:33

I really would like to see the show, but I really had a very rough year this year.  I came very close to death, and now, I am celebrating a second chance at life.  God is so good.

MM
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Re: Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

Post by Joanna on Thu Dec 18 2014, 13:34

Excerpts from the show here....



Joanna
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Re: Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

Post by Joanna on Thu Dec 18 2014, 13:36


Audience reactions to the show "Tenderly"



Joanna
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Re: Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

Post by Katiedot on Thu Dec 18 2014, 17:29

Wow, that looks great.

Welcome back to the forum, MM.  So happy to hear you're feeling so much better.

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Re: Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

Post by MM on Sat Dec 27 2014, 00:09

I am glad to literally have a second chance at life.  God is so good.  You don't know haw precious life is until you have to stare death in the face like I did.

MM
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Re: Come on-a the Playhouse for Rosemary

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