"Everything's Coming Up Rosie"
By Jennifer Ersalesi
For many months the Williams Center has been bustling with activity. They have hosted concerts, open mic nights, game nights, comedy shows, parties, art shows, and so much more. September’s calendar is already filling up with exciting events for all community members to enjoy. On Saturday, September 24th, Rutherford resident and talented singer, actress, songwriter, and playwright will perform her show entitled, “Everything’s Coming Up Rosie”. After performing in five Broadway shows and four national tours, Rosemary cannot wait to share some of her favorite songs from classic Broadway shows. This is Rutherford had the opportunity to interview Rosemary (see the previous article about Rosemary here) to learn more about her upcoming performance and why the arts are so important to her.
TIR: As a longtime Rutherford resident, how are you feeling about performing your show “Everything’s Coming Up Rosie” at the Williams Center in your hometown?
Rosemary Loar: I am super excited as I love this community and got to meet many of my neighbors over the years in different circumstances. For the last three summers, my musician friends and I have offered Porch Concerts on my porch and on my next-door neighbor, Jaimie Winter's porch. Everyone was starved for live entertainment and we were more than happy to supply that. Now I'm happy to share "Everything's Coming Up Rosie" so they can see a "show" with my songs and my stories about how I became a performer.
TIR: Have you performed at the WC before?
RL: Back in 2003 my late husband, Robert W. Atwood, and I along with about a dozen other residents held a concert fundraiser/gala for the Williams Center. It was a wonderful community-building experience and was well attended. There is a chandelier that is pretty much an icon at the theater and I composed a song for 24 of the kids in the town to sing. (Also it was a good way to ensure that the gala would be well attended.)
Other than that, I have only performed on the plaza; once when we had a rally for "Save The Williams Center" and last week when I sang at the newly created monthly open mic, which I highly recommend as the marvelous host, Leland Gill keeps things moving and it's quite wonderful to experience for everyone.
TIR: What can you tell us about this upcoming performance?
RL: I was raised in musical theater. My mother would escape New Jersey (with her seven children) for Broadway and return refreshed, with a cast album in hand. It was surely those cast albums that gave me my love of musical theater.
I debuted “Everything’s Coming Up Rosie” in the fall of 2019 at Don’t Tell Mama and included songs such as “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” from My Fair Lady, and “Almost Like Being in Love,” from the Brigadoon. I also sing my interpretations of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Memory” from Cats, and “Think of
Me” from Phantom of the Opera.
I also enjoy including lots of fun facts about my life in the theater.
TIR: Chuck Olivo and the team he is working with over at the Williams Center have been bringing performances and activities back and are looking forward to their plans for the future. How are you feeling about the plan for the Williams Center?
RL: He and his team are the first ones in decades who really are putting muscle and money and true support of the arts into this amazing cultural center. Their intentions are directed toward helping the community rise to the level of artistry it desires and demands. Sure his company will make money on the apartments but not at the cost of losing our Arts Center.
TIR: How long have you been a performer?
RL: I have sung since I was a child. Growing up Irish-Catholic there was always singing in the home. My dad and mom both sang and so did all my relatives. I was in the church choir and the music festivals.
I have been a professional performer for over forty years. My first audition was for the national tour of Godspell. I booked it and the rest is history. Actually, I had a tough time after I came back from the tour as I soon realized that I needed to learn how to dance a lot better. So I enrolled in fifteen classes a week and that's where I met my husband, Robert Atwood. He was my first ballet teacher ever and his patience and skill are part of the reason that the next year I booked the 50th Anniversary of the Radio City show "Encore".
I started doing summer stock and some smaller off-Broadway shows and then in 1983, my big Broadway break came when I booked "You Can't Take It With You" starring Jason Robards, James Coco, and Colleen Dewhurst. I didn't have a monologue ready so transformed a Shouts and Murmurs column from the New Yorker into my audition piece. They loved it. Next, I auditioned for the national tour of "42nd Street". I had only been tapping for 6 months but because they needed someone to sing a "high B" I got the show. Finally, I got a national tour starring in the coveted role of "Grizabella" in Cats.
Throughout the years I have performed in four more Broadway shows, tours, regional theaters, and concert halls. Then I started cabaret and jazz singing which has been another great outlet for my talents and versatility. I'm also a composer and lyricist and perform my original music with my pop/rock band at the Green Room 42 in NYC
TIR: There are so many groups and initiatives in Rutherford to help make sure that the arts continue to play an important role in our community and to further strengthen that role. As a performing artist, how do you hope the arts, of all kinds, will be encouraged and supported in town?
RL: Because we are so close to NYC sometimes I think the community feels it has to go into NYC for culture, or that NYC has the only culture worth supporting. It will be a self-fulfilling prophecy if the residents don't get out and attend the wide variety of events the Williams Center is now offering. But I am an optimist and I "see" this wonderful town not only supporting the Williams Center but that The Williams Center and Rutherford will continue to become a destination for art and culture.