Letters to the Editor
in response to the October 22, 1972 story by Patricia Bosworth
The New York Times - November 12, 1972

To see the photo that accompanied this column click here.

To The Editor:
October 24, 1972
I read your article about "Dude" with great humor.  Now how about that $100-billion international hit musical that is going on in Vietnam every day where young men go to their graves like beds - a musical war that is sold out to standing room only all over the world.  So say what you want to say.  Call me what what you call me.  Do to me what you do.  You won't get me to be like you.  You see, I love myself.  And I love you, too.

The Kid with the "Goofy Grin,"
Gerome Ragni
New York City


To The Editor:
I think its extremely unfair and detrimental to the theater that Gerome ragni was cast as the villain in Patricia Bosworth's article, "Dude...An $800,000 Disaster"

Like most creative artists, Mr. Ragni is some what of a visionary and it is a producers function to set those visions on proper courses.  The Holzers signed the option, signed the theater contracts, signed the actor and are totally responsible.  I think they are paying the price for their vanity and greed.

There is more needed in producing a play than having money.

Joseph Beruh
New York City


To The Editor:
As it happens, I had just finished watching a Public Service TV commercial for the United Nations Children's Fund last Sunday, when I picked up the Times and read Patricia Bosworth's piece on "Dude."

After hearing that a single dollar contribution could save the life of a starving  Third World infant, I read with mounting anger the appalling saga of how nearly one million dollars was squandered to indulge whims and caprices of a minimally-talented, monumentally-egocentric, outrageously-spoiled juvenile posing as an adult and a writer.  The whole thing struck me as immoral - if not downright criminal.  It was to cry!

Joel Pomerantz
New York City


To the Editor:

I am a junior in high school and I love the theater.  I would like to comment on the injustice done to the now destroyed "Dude".

I saw "Dude" a week before it closed and I enjoyed it.  What's more, I understood what Gerome Ragni was saying.  I do not believe it was the play that failed, but the ignorance of the so-called critics to catch the meaning of what "Dude" stood for.

Joanne Butter
Clifton, N.J.


To The Editor:

Patricia Bosworth's story "Dude...A, $800,000 Disaster" engaged the interest for several reasons:

1) It demonstrated the folly of mounting a Broadway production, astronomical costs being what they are.

2) It pointed to the idiotic convention of having a play stand or collapse on the basis of critics pronouncements.

3) It showed that all the pyrotechnics of the modern stage can't save a play if the play is missing its most important element - good dialogue.

4) It illustrated the truth that Broadway is like thoroughbred racing:  you win one and you lose one and when you've got to play to win all the time, it gets harder and harder to put up the money for the next race.

Stanley Taikeff
Brooklyn, N.Y.


To The Editor:

As the New York theater is constituted today, its success relies solely on the reactions os a very few individuals, some unnecessarily jaundiced.  Who are these men (and several women) who are in a position to decide in two hours that months and months of work, not to speak of fortunes in the case of Broadway musicals, has resulted in something "pretentious", "vulgar", "rude", "crude", and any other of a myriad of adjectives which are set forth weekly by the critics?  It would seem that they themselves are nothing less than pretentious.

In "Dude", we attempted to bring new ideas to the Broadway stage.  We developed an environmental stage.  Galt MacDermot wrote one of the best scores to be heard on Broadway in many years.  Ragni had a beautiful message which, whether structurally strong or not,  was still worthy of being heard.

This great score, lyrics and fascinating new staging will never be seen by New Yorkers or anyone else because the critics so decided.  I will not expand on what they should have said.  But it is truly cruel and ruthless, or (sic) handful of individuals can so influence productions which thousands might otherwise have enjoyed.

It is clear that the system is outdated and destructive, and I can only hope that there will be a change for the benefit of all those who love to go to the theater.

Peter Holzer
Producer of "Dude"
New York City


To The Editor:

Patricia Bosworth's article blaming "Dude's" failure on gerome ragni is sick, truly cruel and ruthless, or just plain naive.  If anything, it merely spotlights Ragni's purported intention of showing the plight of an individual caught in a society so lost in its own "system" and experiencing such an identity crisis that it can no longer survive without destroying the human being.

Carroll Robinson
Winter Park, Fla.


To The Editor:

As witness to a performance of "Dude" during previews (actually pre-O'Horgan previews), I had fierce tremulations which manifested themselves in a nightmare in which "Dude" received unanimous raves with Clive Barnes leading the pack.

There was Michael Dunn hanging upside down calling lighting cues (in the pre-O'Horgan reality, he did not do much anyway) while agile and naked chorines blew into his ears.  William Redfield and Rae Allen were doing intellectual stripteases in time to one-handed banjo strumming by the Shubert Angels.  No. 33 was trying to change concession lemonade into Mateus chilled.  Stagehands in Green Beret uniforms were playing poker with Alice-In-Wonderland cards a la Disney.

But the sun did come up the next morning and I did breath easier.  Now the "Dude" experience has come to a close.  My faith has been temporarily restored in the critics (including you, Clive).  They rose to the occasion and refused to be taken in by another evening of non-sequitur put up by an average buffalo artist and his cronies.  Still, 800,000 bucks?  Al Carmines, where are you?

Richard A Watkins
New York City

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