Musical Stages: An Autobiography

Musical Stages: An Autobiography - Richard Rodgers, Mary Rodgers The best thing about an autobiography is that it doesn't usually end with a death! (although in the "centenary edition" I was reading, there was an afterword that covered the last years of Rodgers' life). The worst thing is that you usually only get half the picture, if that, especially if the author is, as Rodgers obviously was, fairly conservative, conventional and private. What I enjoyed most about this book were the passages where he detailed the kind of thinking that went into the composition of specific musical passages and how they related to the lyrics. It was delightful to have a little score right on the page illustrating some point about emphasis or internal rhyme and showing just how very craftsmanlike the whole process of composition was for him. It was interesting, too, how very much he obviously disliked the movie business, and I was surprised to learn he had nothing to do with any of the famous movies of his musicals after Oklahoma and State Fair. The gossip-lover in me would have liked more scuttlebutt, I must admit, about his associates (especially, of course, Larry Hart; and the apparently less-than-ideal working relationship with Stephen Sondheim as well). But there you go - that's why there's more than one book in the world! I shall have to read some more musical theatre biographies now.