Mary Bogue

My Friends Call Me Rosie

Tom Rolla's Gardenia
West Hollywood, CA
Mary Bogue can sing the blues with the best of ’em.  Although she tends to be an upbeat, positive and optimistic person, she knows how to convey sadness, depression and emotional pain very, very well, as she demonstrated in her latest show — a tribute to the difficult life of the iconic Rosemary Clooney.

Rather than offering a simple tribute to a great singer, Bogue performed songs recorded by Clooney, albeit out of their original contexts, to portray the emotional and mental challenges Clooney endured throughout her life.  And Bogue did it extremely well, from a smooth, strong, articulate “Blues in the Night” (Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer) to a full-voiced, expressive “Crying Myself to Sleep” (Jon Klenner/Pete Wendling) to an emotionally power-packed wallop on “Learnin’ the Blues” (Delores Vicki Silvers).  Singing in her own style, her pointed patter described Clooney’s ups and downs — mostly the downs — in a public life tormented by private pains unseen by and unknown to the general public.

Backing Bogue was a talented trio composed of Musical Director Steve Rawlins on piano, Adrian Rosen on bass and Gordon Peeke on drums — all of whom had moments to shine and each of whom Bogue gratefully acknowledged several times throughout the show.   There was also guest singer Tom Culver, who acknowledged a happy time in Clooney’s life with his joyous, solid version of “You Make Me Feel So Young” (Mack Gordon/Josef Myrow).

Talking about Clooney’s extramarital betrayal by husband José Ferrer, Bogue absolutely killed with a very emotional take on Irving Berlin’s “Love, You Didn’t Do Right by Me” and, after describing an unwise reconciliation with Ferrer, Bogue sang a terrific version of “Of Course It’s Crazy” (Mack David/Mike Reid) in that plaintive way she has with a sentimental ballad.

Of course there were lighter moments, as Bogue tossed off two of Clooney’s biggest hits, both of which, Bogue said, Clooney apparently felt were silly songs:  “Mambo Italiano” (Bob Merrill) and “Come On-a My House” (Ross Bagdasarian/William Saroyan). There was also an up-tempo arrangement of “Hey There” (Richard Adler/Jerry Ross).  Whether she’s doing happy or sad, Bogue is always a pleasure to see, hear and, most significantly, experience.

Elliot Zwiebach
Cabaret Scenes
September 13, 2014