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Somewhere for Me - A Biography of Richard Rodgers Paperback – October 1, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Secrest is long on information and very short indeed on conclusions, a serious shortcoming in a book dealing with the impact of supressed emotions, alcoholism, infidelity, and displaced anger on the lives of Richard Rodgers and his wife, Dorothy . The author relates anecdotes, lists achievements, and tells tales, but then makes very little effort to weave her material into anything that might help us understand this complicated man and his even more complicated wife. We are told that Rodgers was remarkably unfaithful to his wife for nearly half a century, and we are told that she had her disagreeable side, but what effect, if any, did the unfaithfulness have on the disagreeableness? Secrest doesn't go there; what few conclusions that are drawn about the Rodgerses' behaviour are in the interview material.
Early in the book, Secrest promises to say as much about Dorothy Rodgers as her husband. Not only does that not happen, the references to Mrs. Rodgers are largely negative. She is painted as insecure, greedy, addicted to Demerol, and with shallow interests in decorating and design. The author trivialises the famed Rodgers art collection as canned 'Christmas gifts' that the husband and wife could exchange; she failed to discover, or perhaps merely to relate, that major pieces from the collection (particularly the Toulouse-Lautrec gouache of Mme. Natanson) delight thousands of visitors to the Metropolitan Museum, to whom they were willed. Not only is Dorothy Rodgers' incredible eye for art thus diminished by Secrest, Mrs.Read more ›
To give Secrest proper credit, her chapters concerning Rodgers' collaboration with the tempestuous Larry Hart are truly engrossing and very lively. However, the Hammerstein and Post-Hammerstein years seem to be written in haste, or with no care at all.
This book should be read by all devotees of the stage musical, just for its chapters on Rodgers and Hart. Otherwise, I strongly encourage that you read Ethan Mordden's book "Rodgers and Hammerstein" for a better view of the latter collaboration.
Richard Rogers was born to a moderately wealthy Jewish family in New York City. He was composing music for the stage by the time he was seventeen. He had his first Broadway hit by the time he was 24, and after he partnered with Lorenz Hart produced one hit after another. In the meantime, he married the fragile beauty Dorothy, had two daughters and became increasingly wealthy. Sounds like a trip to the pinnacle, a stairway to the stars, doesn't it? Well, not exactly. Rogers and Hart broke up mainly because of Hart's alcoholism and mental fragility. But Rogers got the rap for "deserting" him and banning him from the theatre. This wasn't quite fair to Rogers, but it wasn't untrue either. Rogers' storybook marriage was complex also. Dorothy was a perfectionist and emotionally needy. Rogers' response was a parade of infidelity. And yet. I believe Rogers loved her all his life as much as he was able to love anyone, and she fulfilled some deep-seated need in him. As parents, they both were failures. The daughters were marginally fonder of Richard who they considered distant and savagely critical. Dorothy was seen as a selfish tyrant. The daughters' recollections are not kind.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Because of his complex personality, Richard Rodgers (the composer) is celebrated worldwide, but Rodgers (the man) appears less sympathetic. And still... Read morePublished 10 months ago by multimediapress
I became interested in Dorothy Rodgers after reading a couple of her books. This is well-written and moves along nicely.Published 22 months ago by Kaye E Hathaway
This is a well-written, thorough biography. The writer interviewed Rodgers' intimates researched archives and personal interviews and papers. Read morePublished on May 30, 2014 by Kindle Customer
The book is written in a maudlin style with too much attention to the social circles in which Richard abd his wife circulated. Read morePublished on November 26, 2013 by Wade L Bennett III
First class viewing complimented by meaningful and down to earth commentary .A DVD to enhance any theatrical buffs library
Richard Rodgers , his dedication & ability surely... Read more
A complicated man with a prodigious talent. The heart & soul of the American Musicals from the 30's through the 60's.Published on January 13, 2013 by Michael H. Arve
Rather far cry from Dorothy Rodgers books of life together. I totally enjoyed her decorating books that had a few great ideas but this is about a man not very nice who wrote very... Read morePublished on March 24, 2011 by avid reader
This is a very dull biography of a man who has yet to receive a good one. It's full of familiar stories and no new insights. Read morePublished on November 11, 2010 by Stagedoor Johnny