Richard Rodgers was perhaps the greatest composer in the history of American musical theater. Adam Guettel is the light of a new generation extending and reinventing that tradition. At their intersection stands Mary Rodgers Guettel: Rodgers’s daughter, Guettel’s mother, a noted composer, author, and arts doyenne in her own right and the sharpest tongue in show biz.

More than just a unique witness to the flowering of everything from Oklahoma! to The Light in the Piazza (with her own Once Upon a Mattress sandwiched in between), more than just family and friend (and sometimes enemy) to all the biggest names in the theater for 60 years, she was among the last and best examples of a classic American voice: beholden, passionate, warm, deeply knowledgeable, and devastatingly pointed. As such, the posthumous book in which she stars is broader than a memoir, more personal than a biography, more true than a novel, yet contains elements of each.

Jesse Green is the co-chief theater critic for The New York Times. From 2013 to 2017 he was the theater critic for New York magazine, where he had also been a contributing editor, writing long-form features, since 2008. Before that he wrote about theater and culture for the Arts & Leisure section of The Times while covering broader subjects for the Times Magazine. He is also the author of the novel O BEAUTIFUL and the memoir THE VELVETEEN FATHER: An Unexpected Journey to Parenthood.