Discovering Rosemary Clooney, Tenderly

It must have been fate.

After all, actor Kim Rachelle Harris had a not-so-secret passion for the song “White Christmas,” collecting every version that’s ever been recorded.

So it’s only fitting now that she’s playing singer Rosemary Clooney, who performed that holiday classic many times on screen, TV, in concerts and cabaret shows—and starred in the 1954 film White Christmas with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Vera-Ellen.

But beyond that song, Harris confesses she didn’t know much about Clooney when she said yes to the lead role in Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical, which is presented at the Ivoryton Playhouse in Essex through Sunday, Nov. 13. (Also featured in the two-person cast is Michael Marotta, who was in the show, which also features a three-piece combo, when it premiered at the Cincinnati Playhouse.)

So Harris threw herself into the research of the singer, who died in 2002 at the age of 74, studying her biography as well as her singing style.