Original Broadway Cast

Now Is the Time for All Good Men [Original Cast]

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The growing anti-Vietnam War movement reached the American musical theater -- at least, the Off-Broadway part of it -- with the September 26, 1967, opening of Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford's Now Is the Time for All Good Men at the Theatre De Lys on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. The show concerned an Indiana schoolteacher played by David Cryer who is revealed to have been a war resister. Book writer and lyricist Gretchen Cryer, performing under the pseudonym Sally Niven, played his romantic interest. Cryer and Ford's score, played by piano and percussion, is lively, with plenty of march tempos, and the performers use big Broadway voices to sing the highly declarative lyrics. A subtext of the story is the conflict between a male sense of heroic solitude and a female sense of companionship, as "Niven" sings her big ballad, "He Could Show Me," while David Cryer declares his intentions in "All Alone." Similarly, secondary performers Steve Skiles and Anne Kaye provide alternate interpretations of heroism in "Down Through History." All is resolved by the end, and Now Is the Time for All Good Men never approaches the sense of outrage expressed by another Off-Broadway show that opened only three weeks later, Hair. But Columbia Records' decision to record it was some indication of both the rise of anti-war feeling and the craftsmanship of Cryer and Ford's music.

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