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By Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal
Special to The Village News 

'Tenderly' hurts


Last updated 8/27/2019 at 12:02pm


Playing Rosemary Clooney in "Tenderly The Rosemary Clooney Musical" is Rachel Sorsa.

The best part about "Tenderly, the Rosemary Clooney Musical" is intermission.

A long-time fan of Ms. Clooney's musical accomplishments, I was disappointed to watch her personal and professional life torn to shreds.

The too long, over-dramatized history of Ms. Clooney's singing career was written by the acclaimed writing team of Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Freidman. No doubt, they were paid by the word - otherwise this show would have been a single-90-minute-one-act play.

Primarily taking place in her psychiatrist's office in 1968 Beverly Hills, the story covers Ms. Clooney's e-n-t-i-r-e life. Honestly, it just ain't that interesting.

The bright spot in the show is waiting for Michael Marotta (director, choreographer) to hit another character change up. Reprising his role from 2015, Marotta plays Clooney's accountant, doctor, mother, her priest, her sister Betty and brother Nick, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, as well as both husbands in this two-person play. Marotta can snap between characters faster than a cat can blink. He is the best part of the show.

The other person in the show is co-star Rachel Sorsa. Playing Rosemary Clooney, Ms. Sorsa must have been tired. Anything else said would appear mean spirited.

Cris O'Bryon is the musical director and plays keyboards for this show. Sometimes he plays Nelson Riddle while other times an anonymous accompanist. The rest of the trio includes Jeff Dalrymple on drums and Ken Dow at the bass.

Marty Burnett's simple set designs were efficient and workable. Matthew Novotny designed the efficient lighting. Katie Lowe designed the original sound at the Florida Repertory Theater but mixed here by Ryan Ford. Eliza Benzoni nailed the dresses but must not have had a thing to do with the shoes.

Kicking off the 38th season September 4 is Amadeus. It is the Tony Award winning tale of composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri.

"Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical" was brought to North Coast Repertory as a special treat for its patrons. It should have been wonderful. Playing until August 25 at 987 Lomas Sante Fe Drive in the back of the parking lot. Box office (585) 481-1055 or

"Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical" is rated 7.5 out of 10.

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal can be reached at


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