Text Box: Composer autographs

Phone: 212-860-5541


Price: $175.00



The composer and author daughter of composer Richard Rodgers writes a letter on the face of a fold over condolence card to a family friend, Percy Danielson, 1980.  The card folded is 3.5” x 5”.  We offer with a March, 1959 7” x 9” original sepia press photograph of Mary Rodgers Guettel, her sister Linda Rodgers Melnick and Mary Martin.  The occasion was preparations for a television show “Magic With Mary Martin” which included the two sisters.  Mary composed the show and Linda wrote the lyrics which were originally entitled, “Three to Make Music”.

Mary Rodgers writes:

Dear Mr. Danielson -

What a sweet letter!  Not a “swell” person, merely a lovely and articulate one.  My mother, sister and I thank you and send love -

Mary Rodgers

Unlike the children of most composers, Mary Rodgers Guettel (1931-2014) received accolades in her father’s profession as a composer, as well as the same in the literary world.  Her biggest hit as a composer on Broadway was , “Once Upon a Mattress”.  The show opened on May 11, 1959, ran for 470 performances and made Carol Burnett a star!  It was revived on Broadway in 1996 for 35 previews and 188 performances From December through June 1997 for Sarah Jessica Parker.  Her other two efforts as sole composer on Broadway was the short lived, “Davy Jones Locker” with Bill Baird’s Marionettes in March, 1959 and “Hot Spot” in 1963.  As a contributing songwriter to Broadway Shows, she wrote songs for: “From A to Z” (1960), “Side By Side By Sondheim” (1978), “Working” (1978) and “The Madwoman of Central Park” (1978), often with her sister as lyricist.  In 1966, Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim wrote the music to the Off-Broadway musical, “The Mad Show” which ran for 871 performances.  She also found a niche writing music for television, “Three To Make Music” with her sister and Mary Martin is a key example.  Also, “No Place Like Home” in 1960 starring Carol Burnett and “Feathertop” both made for television movies in 1961.

Rodgers eventually left music to pursue writing and television production.  Her most famous work was the “Freaky Friday” series, including the aforementioned in 1972, “A Billion for Boris” in 1974 and “In Summer Switch” in 1982.  Disney picked up “Freaky Friday” in 1976 with Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris with the screenplay also written by Rodgers.  Since that time there have been four other adaptions between television and as a feature length film.  Leonard Bernstein hired her in 1957 to help produce his “Young People’s Concerts” for television for some 26 broadcasts.

Her son Adam Guettel is the composer of among other things, the Tony winning, “A Light In the Piazza” which was a musical she suggested to her father, who rejected it, but passed along to her son who turned it into a major hit.

Mary Rodgers had a difficult relationship with her father who often was not around and had a multitude of affairs which at times created a hostile environment growing up.  Her words to Mr. Danielson above certainly speaks to her feelings about her father.

A much scarcer autograph than her father, this is an ideal association piece, with a great association photograph of the two sisters and one of her Father’s leading stars suitable for framing!