Forget this being our pick for the best theater book of August. The new memoir by composer Mary Rodgers with Jesse Green doing yeoman’s work is almost certain to be the best theater book of the year. The reviews from critics are off the charts good, usually comparing it admirably to that classic Act One by Moss Hart. The blurbs from theater folk like Julie Andrews and Andre Bishop are rapturous. And the footnotes are the funniest since David Foster Wallace began his infinite jesting.
Rodgers offers it all, from parental issues to an abusive husband to the jaw-dropping revelation that she and Stephen Sondheim had a trial marriage. (It turns out Rodgers loved him as much as everyone else on Broadway.) From Once Upon A Mattress to the novel Freaky Friday to the Marlo Thomas project Free To Be…You and Me, she’s done it all creatively. From her father Richard Rodgers to her son Adam Guettel, Mary Rodgers literally is theater history.
Not since Elaine Stritch strode on stage in At Liberty has a Broadway baby dished this well and this craftily, in every sense of the word. Come to think of it, they turned Act One into a film and later a play. Don’t be surprised at all if this gem does the same.
Michael Giltz is the co-host of the weekly entertainment podcast Showbiz Sandbox. He has covered all areas of entertainment as a journalist, critic, feature writer, and analyst, contributing to numerous outlets, including the New York Daily News, New York Post, New York Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and The Advocate. When Michael’s not attending the theater, he’s reading about it.
Last updated and effective as of January 14, 2019
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