Bombs Away
by Jack Kroll
Newsweek - October 30, 1972

NOTE: This is part of a slightly longer article that also briefly reviews the shows "Hurry, Harry", "Mother Earth" and "6 RMS RIV VU"

Like a big-bottomed, teensy-brained brontosaurus stuck in the muck, the broadway season struggles to get under way.  First there was Dude, advertised as the greatest thing since Hair - but we'll come back to that.  Then there was Hurry, Harry, hastening to its appointment with death.  Then there was Mother Earth, last of this trio of imbecilic "relevant" musicals.....

.....But back to Dude.  This show, by the co-author and composer of Hair, Gerome Ragni and Galt MacDermot, was a stupid mess, a fake "multi-media" idiocy that suppurated gruesomely on the ramps, catwalks, causeways, columns, trapezes, trapdoors, and waterholes of the rebuilt broadway theater.  It's the first time I ever felt sorry for a theater.  The show cost $800,000, perhaps close to a million, and a fascinating article in last Sunday's New york Times describes the fiasco of rewritings, firings and constant panic that was the creation of Dude.

The key people are its producers, Peter and Adela Holzer, both successful backers of previous shows, he a shipping tycoon, she a big landowner in "Spain, South America and the Orient".  They made a terrible mistake with Dude, and it's obvious that they know it, but unlike David Merrick, who gracefully closed his super-loser Mata Hari before it opened on Broadway, the Holzers opened their monstrosity, blamed the critics ("a bunch of stone faced old men") when it bombed, and announced they are through with the theater (pronounce the last word like Bea Lillie playing a drunken duchess).  The chutzpah of the Holzers is one of the big things wrong with brontosaurus broadway.  Such people are the brazen imperialists of the theater, which can well do without their piratical illiteracy.  Only in America can a million dollars be thrown directly into the garbage disposal that is the cultural machine operated by the Holzers and their ilk.

Copyright Newsweek.  All rights reserved.

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