Rosa Rio makes the keys and pedals fly as she rides the Mighty Wurlitzer organ up from its lair under the stage of the Tampa Theatre. The whole rococo palace vibrates with the epic chorus of her theme song, a tune you'd swear was the show-stopper Everything's Coming Up Roses.
An organ-playing legend since her days at NBC in the 1940s and 1950s, Rosa Rio has earned the right to take liberties, even with the Broadway canon. After a stint as an accompanist for actor and singer Mary Martin, Rio became known as "Queen of the Soaps," making music for more than 24 programs during the golden days at Radio City.
Ever heard the eerie, spine-chilling theme for The Shadow? That was Rosa. How about the sentimental sounds playing behind the warm-and-comforting messages of Between the Bookends? That was Rosa, too. And the sprightly, impromptu airs that enlivened The Bob and Ray Show? Yep, Rosa.