Gretchen Cryer Howard Thompson - Essay

Howard Thompson

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

What a novelty it would be, in a musical needling thick-skulled, set American traditions, to see the bad guys—the old reactionary ostriches—presented as something less than diehard dimwits. The good guys? They're altogether admirable. The other side—impossible, except to long for the simple life. That's their one attribute.

This nagging cliché gathers and hangs like a conventional cloud over "Now Is the Time for All Good Men."…

Let's get this on record fast, even while quibbling about the play's one flaw….

The tone is quietly, sharply searching….

The score is brightly jocular when spoofing the local yokels. It is an interesting score throughout, pleasantly fresh, with straightforward, almost conversational lyrics and some inventive, melodic turns.

But Misses Cryer and Ford are at their best minus the needling….

The real Cryer-Ford knack also marks their best tunes, two ballads titled "Tea in the Rain" and "Rain Your Love on Me" (a lotta rain, granted) and "Stuck-Up", a sizzling barrelhouse. The most sophisticated number, "See Everything New," is original, intricate and beautiful….

[The] show ends on a brilliant pin-point that says volumes. See for yourself….

Howard Thompson, "Equity Revives a Musical," in The New York Times (© 1971 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), May 2, 1971, p. 73.