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Broadway Celebrates the Life of Mary Rodgers Guettel This Evening


The life of Mary Rodgers Guettel, composer and children's book author, will be remembered and honored in a memorial celebration tonight, November 3 at Town Hall. Mary was best known for her musical Once Upon a Mattress, and her novel Freaky Friday. She passed away in June at her home in New York City. She was 83 years old.

Speakers will include members of her family and close, lifelong friends. Town Hall is located at 123 West 43rd Street. The event begins at 5:30 PM, and is free and open to the public.

An accomplished author, screenwriter and composer, her earliest professional credits included serving as Assistant to the Producer of Leonard Bernstein's New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts. Her Broadway career began as composer of the 1959 musical ONCE UPON A MATTRESS starring Carol Burnett, later broadcast to great success on network television and revived repeatedly. More than 400 productions of ONCE UPON A MATTRESS are presented annually in the U.S. and Canada and a 1997 Broadway production starring Sarah Jessica Parker earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical Revival. ABC-TV presented a new version of ONCE UPON A MATTRESS on "The Wonderful World of Disney" in late 2005 (subsequently released on DVD), once again starringCarol Burnett-this time as the wicked Queen Aggravain, with Tracy Ullman as Princess Winnifred.

As a composer, her additional theatre credits include HOT SPOT starring Judy Holliday, THE MAD SHOW, WORKING, and THE GRIFFIN AND THE MINOR CANON. Her television credits include Once Upon a Mattress, Three to Make Music (written with her sister Linda and starring Mary Martin), Feathertop, and Marlo Thomas' Free to Be...You and Me. She also composed the scores for several productions featuring the legendary Bil BairdMarionettes, including DAVY JONES' LOCKER and PINOCCHIO, and several musicals for Theatreworks/USA. Her musicals have been celebrated in a revue, HEY, LOVE.

The daughter of composer Richard Rodgers and Dorothy Rodgers, she collaborated with her mother on several projects, including: the 1970 book A Word to the Wives; a nationally syndicated radio program of the same title; and Of Two Minds, a monthly column for McCall's Magazine. She also made several concert appearances with William Hammerstein, son of the celebrated lyricist, in an evening of reminiscences, anecdotes and musical selections celebrating their fathers' collaboration.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

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