The Music Woman: “Shy” reviewed
Unfair or not, Mary Rodgers, whose father, Richard Rodgers, helped pioneer the Broadway musical alongside Oscar Hammerstein and Lorenz Hart, was a nepo baby. But she took her lineage in stride and with more than a little bit of humor as she pursued her own life in the theatre (most notable with Once Upon a Mattress) and in New York society.
In Shy, a posthumous semi-memoir (its structured and annotated by Jesse Green, chief theatre critic for The New York Times), Rodgers turns a microscope on everyone in her life: her parents, her boyfriends and husbands, her colleagues, and her friends – but is most candid about her own foibles and successes.
Many of her accounts won’t come as a surprise to the theatre phalanx reading the book – a half-assed attempt at a relationship with Stephen Sondheim, her work at Juilliard, her second-act career as an author with Freaky Friday and A Billion for Boris are pretty well-known to her circle of followers – but she maintains a tone throughout of wit and humility, especially when she talks about the death of her young son, Matthew. Rodgers claims to not have believed in the concept of souls, but she comes off as a warm one here.