Art Station Theatre
through July 28, 2019
This is a journey into the tumultuous life and times of Rosemary Clooney. She was born in Kentucky into a dysfunctional family, which went through a marital separation which included some children being ripped apart from one another. She started singing when she was very young, but she didn’t come into the limelight until 1946 when at age 18 she was featured on a record with Tony Pastor’s band. And the story goes on from that point.
Her first big hit was Come On-a My House with Mitch Miller. And over the years she was seen and heard on just about every radio and TV show; and she was a very attractive woman to have at stage center doing her numbers. Her personal life, however, was a roller coaster; with two marriages, 5 children, and a terrible drug addiction.
When we meet her in this play she is with a shrink at a hospital that she was a big benefactor to. And the good doctor is played by Luis R. Hernandez, who comes on in loads of different personae and certainly seems to be enjoying each of them. Wendy Melkonian is great as Rosemary, on the time travel trip of her life, including her attraction and appreciation of some folks such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Robert F. Kennedy. It was being present at his assasination that year (1968) that puts her over the wall and gets her in the psych ward.
Once she fought off her innermost devils, she came back to the stage and performed when possible until her passing in 2002 at age 74. Many more years than one might have thought possible.
In this production Wendy moves the story along with many of Rosemary’s classic numbers, which anybody with an AARP card will recall and want to sing along. Patrick Hutchison, Dennie Durrett-Smith and Steve Florczykowski are the band upstage and everybody is in place and on tune with the action at all times. Directed by Karen Beyer, it’s a VERY enjoyable production celebrating the life of a well regarded performer who had won several lifetime achievement awards.
More info at ArtStation.org