When Rosemary Kalikow, or “Rosie,” as she is known to her friends, was growing up on Sutton Place in Lawrence, she knew even as a young girl that she would pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Today, Kalikow is the co-producer of an off-Broadway play, “Til Divorce Do Us Part.”
On a Regents scholarship to Cornell, Rosie majored in arts and theater. After graduation, she started out working for Imero Fiorentino Associates, where she learned about the entertainment production business. After 13 years, she took a job as guest booker and producer for the “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” television show. With early and long hours working on the show, Kalikow and her husband, Richard, also from Lawrence, moved to the city.
“We had to live in New York as our careers kept us there,” Kalikow said. “We still think of ourselves as Long Islanders. I feel badly that my son didn’t have the experience I did, living on Long Island in the suburbs.” Living in Lawrence was “a great independence,” Kalikow said.
After the “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” show, work with Court TV and years of freelancing, Kalikow joined the charity Rosie’s Theater Kids as a mentor. It was at this time when she reconnected with close friend Ruthe Ponturo, the charity’s board member.
It was also during this time that Ponturo’s husband left her after 34 years of marriage. “He was the love of her life,” Kalikow said. “Most people would break down or go out and get plastic surgery. Almost through therapy, Ruthe wrote these hilarious songs.”
To cope, Ponturo said she started hearing these songs in her head and began singing them out loud in the shower. “They sounded like country songs, like ‘my man left me for a younger woman’ kind of songs,” Ponturo said. “My ‘Aha!’ moment came when another friend told me that I should just do a show about divorce.”