“Gleefully wacky and irreverent.”

–The New York Times

“Line by line, Mr. Rudnick may be the funniest writer for the stage in the United States today.”

–The New York Times

“Deeply funny musings and adventures elevate Paul Rudnick to the highest level of American comedy writing.”

–Steve Martin

“One of the funniest quip-meisters on the planet.”

–The New York Times

“Paul Rudnick is a champion of truth (and love and great wicked humor) whom we ignore at our peril.”

–David Sedaris

“Quips fall with the regularity of the autumn leaves.”

–Associated Press

June 28, 2014

Mary Rodgers Guettel


Sometimes it seemed as if everyone in New York, if not the world, knew Mary Guettel, who died earlier this week. As Mary Rodgers, she wrote the music and lyrics for the classic musical Once Upon A Mattress, and she’s revered by the countless fans of her Young Adult novels, which include Freaky Friday, Summer Switch and A Billion for Boris. Mary was passionately involved with the city’s cultural life, writing and producing on Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts, and as the Chairwoman of the board of the Juilliard School from 1994 to 2001. She was the daughter of reknowned composer Richard Rodgers (South Pacific, Carousel, The King and I, and many more) and she’s the mother of composer/lyricist Adam Guettel, who wrote the superb Light in the Piazza and Floyd Collins, among other works.
I met Mary through her daughter Kim, who’s a true and irresistible charmer, and a sensational artist; talent clearly runs in this family. The women in Kim’s family all have strong personalities, which makes for the very best and most rigorous conversations – you have to be smart and you have to be ready. Mary was curious about everything, and she’d share her opinions; she had great style, and she was wonderfully supportive, especially of young people pursuing careers in the arts, myself, years ago, included. Mary’s second husband was Henry Guettel, who was the Executive Director of the Theater Development Fund, and I’d always run into them at the theater. Running into Mary and Hank was a treat, because they always looked great, and they could make you feel that Manhattan was an enchanted island, populated entirely by bright, funny people who could talk about anything, from the latest, quirkiest off-broadway flop to whatever had just erupted in Washington.
Like Nora Ephron, Wendy Wasserstein and so many more, Mary made her way in a world that wasn’t always welcoming to such brilliant women. They worked tremendously hard, and they became touchstones, emblems of success and panache and generosity. Mary will be missed, and tonight they’re dimming the lights on Broadway, just before curtain time, in her honor.