She’s billed as the “Sweetheart Songstress of Hammonton,” with a voice powerful enough to play Judy Garland in a casino Legends show.
Roseann “Rosie” O’Reilly Gazzara grew up in a family of 14 kids in Somers Point, where she found her love for the theater at the Gateway Playhouse on Bay Avenue. She was cast as the lead in “Oliver” there in 1979.
Just 11 at the time, she was the only one trying out who didn’t bring her own music or dress in costume. She told the casting folks she’d sing “Doing What Comes Naturally.”
“They said what key? I said, ‘Any key you play it in,’” O’Reilly Gazzara said.
She will be back in Somers Point June 15 to perform jazz songs at the Jersey Gumbo Cook Off and Music Festival, at the Firehouse on Bethel Road.
After “Oliver,” she started taking vocal lessons from Linwood’s Sal Dupree and Ocean City’s Nancy Fox. She graduated from Holy Spirit High School and started a professional singing career.
In the 1990s, she portrayed Garland at the Atlantic City Hilton.
She married drummer Frank Gazzara, who owns a tent rental business called Affairs at Home, and moved to Hammonton, where she was a founding board member for the Eagle Theatre. She works in customer service at TD Bank, but performs weekends, she said.
She and Frank have two boys, Brian, 17, and Brandon, 15, who both play drums and sing.
Miss Preteen contestant
Julia Keating, 12, of Egg Harbor Township, will represent New Jersey at the national competition in July in San Antonio, Texas, for the title of Miss Preteen National Teenager.
She was crowned Miss New Jersey Preteen National Teenager 2013 at the Ocean City Music Pier in Ocean City in April. At her young age, she has volunteered for more than a dozen organizations, according to her resume.
Julia will receive a $1,000 scholarship at the end of her reign April 2014. She is a student at Fernwood Avenue Middle School in Egg Harbor Township. Her parents are Owen and Margaret Keating.