Clive Barnes

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 159

A number of letters have suggested, usually in gently reasonable terms, that I was unfair to the Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford musical … "Now Is the Time for All Good Men" [see excerpt above]. Perhaps more to the point, I was told that the entire musical had been tightened and the ending completely changed. And perhaps even more to the point still, I admired their courage in keeping going after a moderately unfavorable press….

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I thought that the new ending was a marked improvement. Instead of the Philadelphia schoolteacher, transplanted to an Indiana town, being murdered for his efforts at teaching Thoreau's concepts of civil disobedience, he is now merely run out of town. This, while perhaps not any more likely, happens to be less melodramatic (remember fiction must be less strange than truth) and therefore vastly more acceptable.

Clive Barnes, "Theater: Reappraisal," in The New York Times (© 1967 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), October 27, 1967, p. 49.

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