Mary Rodgers could be considered theater royalty solely by virtue of her birthright. As the daughter of composer Richard Rodgers, she had a front-row seat to the creation of some of the most famous stage musicals ever written.
But Mary Rodgers was a noted theater artist herself, having written the music for Once Upon a Mattress" and other shows. In interviews, however, she tended to be modest about her own accomplishments. Rodgers died on Thursday in New York from heart failure, according to reports. She was 83.
The popular success of Once Upon a Mattress" brought Rodgers a measure of fame — the 1959 musical was revived on Broadway in 1996 — but she tended to live in the shadow of her more famous father as well as those of her friends, who included Stephen Sondheim.
She was married for many years to Henry Guettel, the late executive director of the Theatre Development Fund in New York.
Their son Adam Guettel joined the family business by writing the songs to the popular 2005 musical The Light in the Piazza" and winning a pair of Tony Awards.
Aside from her own accomplishments in theater and writing, Rodgers was known for being the midpoint in a musical dynasty. Her father was Richard Rodgers, one of the most celebrated Broadway composers of all time with numerous hit musicals, including South Pacific," The Sound of Music" and The King and I."
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