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Georgia Ensemble Tells Singer Rosemary Clooney’s Story In Musical

Rachel Sorsa stars as Rosemary Clooney in "Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical."
Credit Dan Carmody

From her debut, singing on a Cincinnati radio station at age 13 to co-starring with Bing Crosby in “White Christmas,” Rosemary Clooney had an extraordinary career. Georgia Ensemble Theatre is putting her life’s story on-stage with the musical “Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical.”

Actor Rachel Sorsa portrays the singer, who she calls resilient.

“Even though she had all odds stacked against her,” Sorsa tells City Lights host Lois Reitzes, “from growing up poor in Kentucky, to some of the trials and tribulations that she suffered throughout her early life, she still managed to keep that going. To live what it is she was supposed to be on this planet, and that was an entertainer.”

Actor Mark Cabus completes the cast of two, playing a dozen roles of people Clooney encounters throughout her life, including a psychiatrist.

“As I question her throughout the play,” he explains, “she is reliving moments of her life and so I become the various characters. Everybody from her sister Betty and her mother, Fran. I also play Frank Sinatra and Jose Ferrer and Bing Crosby.”

The show is directed by James Donadio and features many of Clooney’s hits, including “Come on-a My House,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” and “Mambo Italiano.”

“Tenderly” runs at Georgia Ensemble Theatre from January 11 — 28.