RRT to perform Rosemary Clooney musical this weekend

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Jul. 23—Jukebox musicals tend to sand off the edges of an artist's less-than-glamorous upbringing in order to get to the songs everyone loves.

"Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney" is not one of those shows.

Produced by Robidoux Resident Theater, "Tenderly" is a two-actor exploration between Clooney (Cheyenne Dorrell-Giles), the iconic singer-actor, and a variety of family members and psychiatrists (all played by Tyler Messner).

The show will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Ruby Theater, 615 S. 10th St.

Director Lindsay Prawitz said she was not aware of Clooney beyond her performance in "White Christmas." As the musical dives into her troubled past, from being abandoned as a child to trying to make it in show business, it was an eye-opening experience.

"We get to hear all the fun songs in the show, like 'Mambo Italiano.' But it's also her life story, which is pretty tragic — but it has a beautiful ending," Prawitz said.

Coming from working on bigger productions like "Guys and Dolls" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," Prawitz said it was a joy to work with Dorrell-Giles, an RRT veteran in shows like "White Christmas" and "The Addams Family," and Messner, recently featured in RRT's "Dial M For Murder" and "Clue."

"Our Rosemary is amazing. Her voice is incredible," Prawitz said. "(Messner) plays all of the other characters in her life ... It's really interesting to see how he can transition in and out of those characters and she transitions in and out of different times in Clooney's life."

Despite the show featuring some dark parts of Clooney's life, it also has fun with some of her favorite memories. Prawitz said people should come expecting an acting and singing showcase, along with some wonderful entertainment.

"It's a beautiful story told in a really interesting way," she said.

Tickets are $36 to $43, with an optional pre-show dinner available for purchase. To buy tickets, go to rrtstjoe.org, call the RRT box office at 816-232-1778 or visit the RRT at 615 S. 10th St.

Andrew Gaug can be reached at andrew.gaug@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug

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