Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical

May 23  at 7pm on The University of Memphis Mainstage

Presented by Theatrical Rights Worldwide
Title Sponsor: Pat and Thane Smith

Memphis, TN (May 5, 2015) – Tennessee Shakespeare Company, in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance, presents its first developing musical reading on the U of M mainstage with Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Freidman on May 23 at 7:00 pm.

Tickets for the reading are just $15, or $10 for Students and Seniors.

Tenderly is the first of three developing musicals in TSC’s inaugural Showplace Memphis: Musical Works in Progress.

Sponsored by one of Broadway’s elite musical licensing companies, Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW) and President/CEO Steve Spiegel, based in New York City, Showplace Memphis has been devised as the next creative stage for three musicals en route to full productions in New York and on the regional theatre circuit across the U.S.  The second and third musicals in Showplace Memphis are Midsummer Night (June 27) and The Oliver Experiment (August 15).

TRW has selected the musicals, and the Actors’ Equity casts and directors are coming from all around the country and Memphis.

The Tenderly creators and cast will collaborate and rehearse at the U of M for ten days leading up to its reading.  Though it will be going through both script and music changes, Tenderly will be played and sung in its entirety and with musical accompaniment on the U of M’s mainstage.  No other design elements (scenic/costumes/lights) will be integrated.

Tenderly’s Memphis performance is generously sponsored by Pat and Thane Smith.

Audiences will have an opportunity to speak with the actors and creators of Tenderly immediately following its reading.  Audiences also will inform the production by completing an audience survey that will help the creative team in future development phases.

Tenderly is based on the life of Rosemary Clooney, who was hailed as America's favorite girl singer, in this exhilarating and inspiring new musical biography.  Her journey starts with her humble Midwest childhood and rise to Hollywood stardom, and continues beyond battles with depression to a triumphant comeback.  Through it all, she topped the charts for nearly five decades with signature songs.  Tenderly offers a remarkably personal and poignant picture of the woman whose unparalleled talent and unbridled personality made her a legend.

The show, which received rave reviews and a double-extension of its run in its second incarnation at Cincinnati Playhouse earlier this year, features many of Mrs. Clooney’s signature hits, including “Hey There (you with the stars in your eyes),” “Tenderly,” and “Come On-A My House.”

Michael MarrotaSusan HaefnerTenderly returns its popular Cincinnati Playhouse cast members, Michael Marotta and Susan Haefner (Broadway’s State Fair, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and 42nd Street) and is directed by Kent Nicholson, who is the Director of Musical Theater at NYC’s Playwrights Horizons.  NYC new works veteran Matt Castle is the Musical Director.  

Mrs. Clooney was born on May 23, 1928, in Maysville, Kentucky.  She became a popular recording artist during the 1950s, known for her warm, engaging voice.  She started out singing with her sister Betty on a Cincinnati radio show, and the two joined Tony Pastor's touring big band orchestra in 1946.

After her sister retired from singing, Mrs. Clooney went to New York to launch her solo career in 1949. Two years later, after signing with Columbia Records, she had her first No. 1 hit with "Come On-a My House."  More hits followed, such as "Hey There," "This Ole House" and "Tenderly."  She also appeared in feature films, including The Stars Are Singing (1953) and White Christmas (1954) with Bing Crosby.  In the late 1950s, she had her own self-titled television show.

She experienced personal problems in the late 1960s, including a divorce from actor Jose Ferrer, medication addiction, and depression.  She spent years recovering and rebuilding her career, starting out in small clubs and lounges.  In the mid-1970s, she joined Bing Crosby on his final tour, which helped spur her comeback.  She later signed a recording contract with the Concord Jazz label and married Dante DiPaolo, a dancer she had known from two of her films, in 1996.

Mrs. Clooney continued to record and perform, and in 2002 received a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.  Mrs. Clooney died from complications related to her battle with lung cancer on June 29, in Beverly Hills, CA.  She had five children from her marriage to Mr. Ferrer.

Tenderly Artist Bios


Matt Castle (Musical Director) has played, acted in, directed, and/or developed more than 75 new musicals at Sundance Institute, NYU, Playwrights Horizons, Weston Playhouse, O’Neill Center, Signature Theatre, York Theatre, Barrington Stage, NYMF, and CAP21.  With Frank Galgano, he has created orchestrations for musicals and concerts at Kennedy Center, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Roundabout, Atlantic Theater Company, George Street Playhouse, ACT, Davies Hall, BC/EFA, TheatreworksUSA, Sacramento Theatre Company, and Waterfront Playhouse.  As an actor/musician, he performed in the 2007 Broadway revival of Company, the original off-Broadway casts of Musical of Musicals, Enter Laughing, and LingoLand; Cincinnati Playhouse’s Merrily We Roll Along; and Fiasco Theater’s Into the Woods.

Mark Friedman (Composer/Lyricist/Playwright of Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical) is thrilled to have Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical at SHOWPLACE MEMPHIS.  Mark and Janet’s musicals have played across the country and abroad, including: How I Became a Pirate, Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale, The Magical Adventures of Merlin, Sleepy Hollow: A Musical Tale, Anne of Green Gables, Jingle ARRGH the Way, Snow White & the Prince, Cinderella: The Tale of the Glass Slipper, and Sherlock Holmes & the Mystery of the Crown Jewel.  Mark co-founded and performed with several regional arts companies: Cincinnati’s first free Shakespeare Festival, Peanut Butter Theatre for Children, and the Artreach Touring Theatre.  Represented by Paradigm Agency (New York), his works are licensed by Theatrical Rights Worldwide and Rodgers & Hammerstein. Grateful for his theatre successes, Mark considers his best productions to be his children: Emily, a film and television major at NYU, and Chris, future golf pro and jazz musician.

Susan Haefner* (Rosemary Clooney, pictured) returns to the role after a sold-out and extended run at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.  Her Broadway credits include State Fair, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and 42nd Street.  Tours include Billy Elliot (national tour and Toronto) and Damn Yankees with Jerry Lewis (national tour and London’s West End).  Regionally, Susan has played leading roles at Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Barter Theatre, and Shaker Bridge Theatre.  She received her MFA from Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training.

Michael Marotta* (Doctor, pictured) comes to TSC fresh from The Music Man with the Cincinnati Pops, and happily returns to Tenderly having played the role at Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park.  He created the role of Walter Winchell in the new musical Mr. Confidential at the Signature Theater in his hometown, NYC.  Most recent credits: Herr Schultz in Cabaret (Rep Theater St. Louis); Huck in The Fantasticks; Sidney Bruhl in Deathtrap (Florida Rep); Billy Flynn in Chicago, Ben Hecht in Moonlight & Magnolias (Flat Rock Playhouse, NC).  NY credits include Mad about the Boy, the centennial salute to Noel Coward, and Irving Berlin’s Louisiana Purchase, both at Carnegie Hall.  As a cabaret artist, Michael has twice been the recipient of both the MAC Award and the BACKSTAGE Bistro Award.

Kent Nicholson+ (director) most recently directed Long Story Short at Prospect Theater in New York.  New York credits include Five Flights (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), Wet (Summer Play Festival), and Marry Harry (NYMF, American Theater Group).  Regional:  Light in the Piazza (South Coast Repertory), How to Write a New Book for the Bible (South Coast Repertory, Berkeley Repertory, Seattle Repertory), Lizzie (Theater Under the Stars, Village Theater), Grey Gardens, Vincent in Brixton, Ambition Facing West, and All My Sons (TheatreWorks), Saint Ex (Weston Playhouse), 9 Circles, The Good German, and Jacques Brel (Marin Theater Company), Small Tragedy and Satellites (Aurora Theater Company).  He created the New Works Initiative at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto and currently serves as the Director of Musical Theater at Playwrights Horizons.

Janet Yates Vogt (Composer, Lyricist, Playwright of Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical), along with her writing partner, Mark, is thrilled to be a part of SHOWPLACE MEMPHIS with Tenderly celebrating the life of the iconic singer and actress, Rosemary Clooney.  Mark and Janet are true collaborators – with both writing music, lyrics and the books for their many musicals, including How I Became a Pirate: Sleepy Hollow, A Musical Tale; Anne of Green Gables; Jingle ARRGH the Way; Snow White & the Prince; Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale; The Magical Adventures of Merlin; Cinderella: The Tale of the Glass Slipper which have played nationally and internationally at over 300 theatres -- licensed by Theatrical Rights Worldwide and Rodgers & Hammerstein.  They have also enjoyed numerous Equity productions and NYC readings.  Musicals currently in development are Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Crown Jewel and George Remus, an infamous bootlegger.  Janet is represented by Paradigm Agency, NYC.  Please visit www.vogtfriedmancomposers.com.

* AEA member; + SDC member

Seating is general admission; first come/first seated.  Tickets are just $15 and are on sale now.  Students 22 and younger and Seniors 62 and older receive discounted $10 tickets.

Tenderly will be presented on the Mainstage inside the University of Memphis Theatre Building, which is located on the main campus at 3745 Central Avenue in Memphis, TN.

Purchase tickets in person Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at TSC’s office located at 3092 Village Shops Drive in Germantown, or by calling 901-759-0604, or by going on-line to www.tnshakespeare.org

The TSC Box Office inside the University of Memphis Theatre Building will begin selling tickets one hour prior to the performance on-site.  Free parking is available in the Central Avenue parking lot, beginning at 7:00 pm, directly across from the U of M Theatre Building.  No refunds.  Cast is subject to change.

Theatrical Rights Worldwide

Theatrical Rights Worldwide represents musicals from Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as shows originating in regional theatres.  TRW cultivates and introduces new work along with extending the production life of musicals to all theatrical marketplaces worldwide.  TRW licenses productions to a broad range of customers, from schools to Broadway.  As agents for the authors, TRW grants live stage production rights and provides performance and rehearsal materials and tools to enhance the actor, musician, and audience experience.  Its Broadway collection includes Memphis-centric musicals All Shook Up: The Music of Elvis Presley, Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash, and the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Memphis.  Its internationally-popular collection also includes Jersey Boys, Monty Python’s Spamalot, which won the Tony for Best Musical, Kander and Ebb's Curtains, The Color Purple, and recent releases Ghost the Musical, Big Fish, and The Addams Family.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a professional 501(c)(3) theatre and education organization which performs the plays of William Shakespeare indoors and outdoors seasonally; performs classical and Southern writers seasonally; and provides year-round educational and training programming.  Now in its seventh season, Tennessee Shakespeare Company seeks to sustain a Mid-South classical theatre that both nurtures artists and encourages audiences to exaltation, curiosity, and wonderment; be a center for the community dedicated to re-discovering faith in life by increasing awareness of reality and expanding imagination through an emphasis on the performance, education, and training of William Shakespeare’s works.  For more information:  www.tnshakespeare.org.

University of Memphis Department of Theatre & Dance

The University of Memphis' Department of Theatre & Dance offers both the BFA and MFA degrees in theatre and is successfully training our next generation of theatre artists. The Department mounts a full season of plays and dance concerts in a variety of performance venues, large and small.  With an emphasis on diversity and a breadth of experience only the performing arts can provide, the Department of Theatre & Dance provides audiences with the best in local theatre and dance.  Upcoming productions feature a delightful mix of comedy and drama, music and dance.  For more information: 




  • Remarkable Results from Romeo and Juliet Project
  • New Permanent Year-Round Home for TSC
  • Shakespeare Shout-Out Series
  • New Germantown Municipal School District Partnership
  • New Company d and Memphis VA Partnerships

See the Remarkable Results from this year's Romeo and Juliet Project

(February 12, 2018) -- "I believe Tennessee Shakespeare Company's Romeo and Juliet Project in Memphis is one of the more crucial, proven, and successful arts-in-education initiatives in the United States," says TSC founder and Producing Artistic Director, Dan McCleary.

This brief report responds to several of the most frequently asked questions TSC has received in the last decade regarding Shakespeare and its education programming in Memphis:

  • Why do you believe William Shakespeare and his plays are relevant in the 21st Century?
  • Why do I have to learn Shakespeare in school?
  • Can my children really understand Shakespeare?
  • Do you really believe Shakespeare can save lives?
  • You don’t really believe that Shakespeare can change the world, do you?

TSC provides its responses in the words, pictures, tallies, and grades of children, teachers, and actors in its four-month Romeo and Juliet Project throughout Shelby County in Tennessee. 

"And for the record, on that last question," says McCleary, "Yes, I do."

Read the report

We have Purchased the Former Ballet Memphis Property to Create the State’s First Permanent, Year-Round Home for Professional Shakespeare Performance, Education, and Training in Memphis

pic newhome tsc2017(August 31) -- Tennessee Shakespeare Company today announced it has purchased the former facility and property of Ballet Memphis located at 7950 Trinity Road in Memphis as its first, permanent home. 

The announcement was made by Dan McCleary, the company’s founder and Producing Artistic Director; Owen B. Tabor, the company’s Board President for the past six years; and E. Frank Bluestein, the company’s founding Executive Director.

With this acquisition, Tennessee Shakespeare Company is preparing to create the first and only permanent, year-round home for professional Shakespeare performance, education, and training in the state of Tennessee.

TSC purchased the 18,484 square foot facility outright from Ballet Memphis for $1,900,000.  There is no mortgage. 

TSC, now beginning its tenth anniversary season, expects to begin interior renovation this year and be completed in Spring 2018.

The renovation will focus on modifying existing dance studios into a state-of-the-art, professional, flexible theatre for seating up to 200 patrons, as well as a spacious Education Wing.  The public lobby, restrooms, and support areas for the theatre also will be modified.

Centrally located to all of Shelby County just north of Walnut Grove Road, between Germantown Road and the northeast corner of Shelby Farms Park, the unique glass-and-steel facility will house all of TSC’s operations under one roof:  performances, training, education, administrative offices, storage, costume shop, scene shop, and commercial kitchen.  The facility was constructed in 1998, and an addition was built in 2012.  It affords parking for nearly 70 cars.

TSC and Ballet Memphis, longtime arts colleagues whose artistic staffs have collaborated over the years, entered into a Purchase & Sale Agreement in late June.  The sale represents one Memphis not-for-profit arts organization selling to another for re-use of a special purpose building.  TSC’s agent was W. Cary Whitehead III of Boyle Investment Company.

For the last nine years, TSC has created site-specific/environmental Shakespeare and classical productions, both indoors and outside, throughout Shelby County, partnering with long-time friends Dixon Gallery & Gardens, the University of Memphis, St. George’s Church, Shelby Farms Park, Germantown City Hall, Poplar Pike Playhouse, Hutchison School, and Germantown Performing Arts Center.

“This is an important moment in Memphis performing arts,” said Dr. Tabor.  “We have researched more than 50 sites in the last few years, and the former Ballet property is perfect for our needs and for what our audiences say they would like.  The Ballet’s new home in Overton Square is so impressive, and they have been wonderful to work with during this transaction.  We wish them tremendous success.  We appreciate that this special building is the launch pad for exciting futures for two important arts groups in Memphis.

Read More

The First Free Shakespeare Shout-Out Series Launches Our 10th Season throughout Shelby County

pic shakespeare shout out 10 1 17Mario Hoyle (Romeo) and Kiana Holley (Juliet).

We officially launch our tenth anniversary season this week when we bring Romeo and Juliet to the historic outdoor train depot and platform in Collierville Town Square on Saturday, October 7 at 4:00 pm.

Our first Free Shakespeare Shout-Out Series, sponsored by Evans/Petree, P.C., features 11 performances of three touring productions to ten outdoor/indoor locations throughout Shelby County playing through November 10.

No tickets are required.  First come/first seated.

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, directed by Stephanie Shine, questions the future of the Roman Republic, the love that sustains it, and the leadership that breaches it.  Romeo and Juliet, directed by Carmen-maria Mandley, is fast, physical, and daring in its descent from comedy to mortal, young tragedy.  And TSC’s Shake(s), Rattle, & Roll, directed by Shine, pairs the legacy music of Memphis with the famous Shakespeare scenes TSC imagines inspired them.

Read More

Announcing a New, Multi-Year Partnership with the Germantown Municipal School District for Cutting-Edge Classical Curriculum for Elementary, Middle, and High School Students

pic germantown partnership1Tennessee Shakespeare Company and the Germantown Municipal School District today announced a unique, multi-year education partnership that will bring immersive, cutting-edge Shakespeare curriculum to life for every student in grades five, seven, and nine.

Starting with this school year, all GMSD fifth and seventh grade students will participate in an introductory, immersive playshop to prepare and excite them for experiencing a full, live performance of TSC’s self-created production of Shakes, Rattle, and Roll.  The show pays tribute to our hometown heritage, creatively linking the signature music of Memphis to the works of Shakespeare that could have inspired them.

All ninth grade students will be treated to TSC’s nationally-acclaimed Romeo and Juliet Project, a four-part interactive residency that concludes with an intimate and riveting live performance of Romeo and Juliet.

The Project, originally launched at Germantown High School seven years ago and now operating in many Shelby County Schools, transforms classrooms into playing spaces to change students' expectations and reception of the material. The residency begins with three sessions that engage the students in playing three different parts of the play.  The positive impact on the students’ grades, compassion level, engagement in continued exploration of classical texts, and their rehearsed ability to walk away from potentially life-threatening situations in their own lives has proven quantifiable and remarkable in the scores of schools in which TSC has taught over the past eight years. 

Read More

New, Exciting TSC Partnerships with Company d and the Memphis VA, and Expanding Programs with Jail East and Hope Academy

“TSC gives them models to express their feelings, which they probably have never done.  For maybe the first time in their lives, they think about the world around them and their role in the community.”

- Joyce Anderson, Juvenile Manager, Shelby County Sheriff's Office

pic tns HopeAcademy6
Hope Academy residency participants

We are thrilled to announce new partnerships between TSC and Company d and the Memphis Veterans Administration Medical Association.  Also this month (August), we are happily expanding our Shakespeare programs for adjudicated youth at both Jail East and Hope Academy.

TSC is spending August in residence with Company d.  Nationally recognized, Company d is a dance company of young adults with Down syndrome under the artistic direction of choreographer Darlene Winters.  Founded in 2001, Company d is committed to inspire, empower, and teach individuals with Down syndrome who have an inherent aptitude for the performing arts.

TSC Education Manager Carmen-maria Mandley and TSC Education artists guide participants through the tumultuous world of Romeo and Juliet.  Using movement and text, the dancers are immersed in Shakespeare's images and encouraged to discover their personal connection with the characters of the play.

"Company d dancers are having a dynamic experience with TSC this week,” says Winters, Company d founder and Artistic Director.  “The play and its language are being brought to life with interactive methods.  The partnership with Tennessee Shakespeare Company is the first partnership with a theatre company in this region.  I am so excited about this new and unique experience for individuals with Down syndrome, which will enrich artistic growth and expand cultural literacy skills."

Also in August, TSC begins working with veterans at the Memphis VA Medical Association. This program brings together service veterans with theatre practitioners to use the plays of Shakespeare in addressing combat-related traumatic and re-integration issues. The model, created by the Feast of Crispian Project in Milwaukee, WI, was created to strengthen the personal psychological resources available to service veterans - especially those with post-deployment health issues - through the practice and skills of theatre combined with the timeless themes and imagistic language of Shakespeare.

Read More

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is generously supported by:

International Paper    FedEx         Tennessee Arts Commission

logo-ibank             University of Memphis  artsmemphis std color logo2500

     ArtsFirst Color    

logo nea 2016 footer    

Evans Petree

Individual Season Sponsors:

Barbara B. Apperson Angel Fund; Nancy Copp; Ernest, Pat, Martha, and Marian Kelly; Milton T. Schaeffer; The Family of Owen and Margaret Tabor;
Ann and Wellford Tabor.

Season Partners:

Collierville Municipal School District; Dixon Gallery & Gardens; Germantown Municipal School District; Memphis Hunt & Polo Club; Palladio;
Shelby County Schools; The University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a proud member of:
Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence       artsmemphis std color logo2500    logo-gacc          Tennesseans for the Arts     Tennessee Theatre Association     Where We Live