At Mary Rodgers Memorial: Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, Stephen Sondheim & Hal Prince

The life of Mary Rodgers Guettel, the daughter of Broadway royalty Richard Rodgers who became famous in her own right for the musical “Once Upon a Mattress” and the book “Freaky Friday,” was celebrated by family and friends at a starry memorial service at Town Hall on Monday. And I was there! Rodgers Guettel died in June at age 83 in her Manhattan home. “I was so happy I knew her,” said Carol Burnett, who headlined the 1959 musical “Once Upon a Mattress” and became a star playing awkward Princess Winnifred. Burnett was joined at the podium with longtime chum Julie Andrews, who jokingly introduced herself by saying, “I’m Carol Burnett and this is Julie Andrews. It’s ‘Freaky Monday.'” Andrews went on to praise Mary Rodgers and her father “for helping two young pups find paths in the world.” Stephen Sondheim introduced himself by saying, “I’ve known Mary a very long time — since we were in our 20s.” Sondheim then let a piano do the talking for him. He played an original piece he wrote in his friend’s honor for the occasion inspired by a song from their TV musical collaboration “The Lady or the Tiger.” Other speakers included Oscar-winner Helen Hunt, who recalled Rodgers’ great generosity; producer and director Harold Prince, who praised her loyalty; and writer Paul Rudnick, who reflected on her quick wit.

Leave a Comment