E-book excerpt: “Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers”

Mary Rodgers (1931-2014), the daughter of Richard Rodgers, was herself an completed composer and creator who was surrounded by among the most notable personalities of American musical theater.

In “Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), written with USA Prime Time theater critic Jesse Green, she tells a narrative, each painful and pleased, that’s by no means something however candid, forgiving and witty.

Read an excerpt under, through which Mary describes her first encounter together with her lifelong pal, Stephen Sondheim.


Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Steve and I performed a sport the primary time we met. This was at Highland Farm, Oscar Hammerstein’s house in Bucks County, in the summertime of 1944. Steve was one of many semi-orphans and unhappy strays with rotten dad and mom whom Ockie and his spouse Dorothy have been at all times quasi-adopting, together with the fey and interesting Shawen Lynch and the mysterious, haughty Margot de Vaulchier, who was both a royal descendant of some unidentified mini-kingdom like Liechtenstein, or possibly an escapee from Staten Island – who knew?

I assume I had include my dad and mom; possibly Daddy and Ockie have been engaged on Carousel, which opened on Broadway the subsequent spring. Anyway, there we have been: a thirteen-year-old woman, fats and ungainly, as my father saved telling me, and a fourteen-year-old boy genius with a loopy narcissist divorcée of a mom who’d put him in army faculty – which he beloved. 

With nothing in frequent besides R (me) and H (him), what do you do? You play chess. Three video games. He beat me fiendishly, took no time in any respect. Once we ran by that, we went to the piano, the place he performed both Rhapsody in Blue or An American in Paris. I did not know these Gershwin issues, oddly sufficient. Growing up, I solely went to Daddy’s musicals; at house, he by no means performed Gershwin data. He did not play data a lot usually, however in particular he did not play Gershwin, the one composer he may need envied – effectively, possibly not the mind tumor half. Or possibly even that.

I used to be dazzled by Steve, fully surprised. I knew straight away he was sensible; he simply reeked of expertise. Which, not illogically, was at all times the largest turn-on for me. I married two tall, blue-eyed males, however the ones I had probably the most enjoyable with have been darkish. And, boy, was Steve darkish. He wasn’t obnoxious, however impatient, a bit snappish. Pleasant, however not boy-girl nice. I used to be only a physique there. I do not assume he thought I used to be as brilliant as he was, and he was proper. He knew I wasn’t as much as his requirements. But no one was. Later, we did grow to be virtually equals, besides within the mind division. But at that second I assumed I might by no means be as infatuated with anybody once more. Which turned out to be true.

From “Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers” by Mary Rodgers and Jesse Green, revealed by Farrar Straus Giroux. © 2022 by Mary Rodgers and Jesse Green. Reprinted with permission.

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One thought on “E-book excerpt: “Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers”

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