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Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers

Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers cover

Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers

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The memoirs of Mary Rodgers—writer, composer, Broadway royalty, and “a woman who tried everything.”

“What am I, bologna?” Mary Rodgers (1931–2014) often said. She was referring to being stuck in the middle of a talent sandwich: the daughter of one composer and the mother of another. And not just any composers. Her father was Richard Rodgers, perhaps the greatest American melodist; her son, Adam Guettel, a worthy successor. What that leaves out is Mary herself, also a composer, whose musical Once Upon a Mattress remains one of the rare revivable Broadway hits written by a woman.

Shy is the story of how it all happened: how Mary grew from an angry child, constrained by privilege and a parent’s overwhelming gift, to become not just a theater figure in her own right but also a renowned author of books for young readers (including the classic Freaky Friday) and, in a final grand turn, a doyenne of philanthropy and the chairman of the Juilliard School.

But in telling these stories—with copious annotations, contradictions, and interruptions from Jesse Green, the chief theater critic of The New York TimesShy also tells another, about a woman liberating herself from disapproving parents and pervasive sexism to find art and romance on her own terms. Whether writing for Judy Holliday or Rin Tin Tin, dating Hal Prince or falling for Stephen Sondheim over a game of chess at thirteen, Rodgers grabbed every chance possible—and then some.

Both an eyewitness report from the golden age of American musical theater and a tale of a woman striving for a meaningful life, Shy is, above all, a chance to sit at the feet of the kind of woman they don’t make anymore—and never did. They make themselves.

Mary Rodgers (1931–2014) was an accomplished composer, author, and screenwriter. She was the author of the novel Freaky Friday and its 1976 screenplay adaptation, and of several other novels. Rodgers also wrote the music for Once Upon a Mattress, which was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical. She lived in New York City until her death.

Jesse Green is the chief theater critic for The New York Times. From 2013 to 2017 he was the theater critic for New York magazine. Before that, he covered theater and other cultural topics, as well as writing long-form news features, for many national publications. He is the author of the novel O Beautiful and the memoir The Velveteen Father: An Unexpected Journey to Parenthood.

ISBN: 9780374298623

ISBN-10: 9780374298623

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication Date: 08/09/2022 - 12:00am

On Sale: 08/09/2022 - 12:00am

Pages: 480

Language: English

Categories

Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts

Biography & Autobiography / Music

Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs