Gretchen Cryer Richard Eder - Essay

Richard Eder

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

"I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road" is a musical entertainment about a 39-year-old woman finding herself.

For once, the standard disclaimer must be reversed: The subject does not do justice to this summary description.

There is some freshness of aspiration but none of achievement in this collection of songs and skits about the troubles of a pop singer trying to find a new image for herself.

There is a touch of wit here and there. Gretchen Cryer … is trying to say something honest about aging and feminine identity. Her perception fails her, she falls into platitude after platitude and comes up with a show that is both insubstantial and very heavy….

[Cryer and Ford] seem to be catching up with a number of theater conventions and ideas of the 70's, and arriving late….

Self-celebration is the affliction of "I'm Getting My Act." Its songs and skits spell out the conflicts—the little girl who has to smile for her daddy; the wife who has to pick up her husband's socks and talk baby talk to him; the liberated women who find that men don't much like them—with little individual perception, imagination or rigor. The lyrics, and the music, are effortless and not in the best sense of the word.

There are exceptions. The skit about three overachieving women who conclude that men prefer incompetence, is charming…. But "I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road" is not so much a title as a pious hope.

Richard Eder, "'Getting Act Together'," in The New York Times (© 1978 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), June 15, 1978, p. C17.