The marquees of Broadway theaters will be dimmed in Mary Rodgers Guettel’s memory on June 28 at exactly 7:45 PM for one minute. As previously reported, the Tony-nominated composer, Freaky Friday author, screenwriter, celebrated Broadway patron and scion, died at her home in Manhattan on June 26. Rodgers, who was the daughter of legendary composer Richard Rodgers and his wife Dorothy, was 83.
“Mary Rodgers Guettel was a gifted author and composer; adding to her family’s achievements of musical theatre greatness,” said Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of the Broadway League. “The lights of Broadway are being dimmed in honor of someone who was a muse and inspiration to so many, and she will be missed. Our thoughts are with her friends and family.”
Though Rodgers had a vibrant career of her own, she was also well known as a director of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, which handles the work of her father, as well as his frequent collaborator Oscar Hammerstein, Irving Berlin and others. Her Broadway career began as composer of the 1959 musical Once Upon a Mattress, starring Carol Burnett, for which she received a Tony nomination. Other Great White Way credits included Working, for which she received an additional Tony nod. Rodgers was also a successful children’s author, penning Freaky Friday, which she later adapted into the hit 1976 movie. At the time of her death Rodgers was chairman emeritus and served on the board of the Juilliard School. She also served on the boards of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival and the Dramatists Guild Council.
Watch below a video of Rodgers talking about her father, her first encounter with Stephen Sondheim and some of her early work.