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From Shelley Taylor in Munroe Falls, Ohio:
While getting "Camille Claudel" ready for the Norma Terris Theater this summer and given the critic's reviews of Frank's previous shows, did you find yourself writing for what the critics will someday review or more for the audience? The critics have been tough on the Wildhorn shows, but the audiences have loved them. I saw Camille Claudel in Connecticut and loved it! I am very glad to see you and Frank working together again. We came opening night, which was wild, and then stayed and saw it three more times. I would have loved to see the closing night, but the trip is a little far. Congratulations on such a compelling and beautiful story!

Thursday, 18 December 2003

Dear Shelley,

The answer to your question is a resounding "No." I think "writing for the critics" would be a disastrous ambition. First of all, with the good critics, it would be impossible to predict their reaction. A good critic always walks in with an open mind and responds to the honesty and the power of a show. I think it would stick out like a sore thumb if instead a show was tailored to what one presumes critics want to see, and they would come down hard on that pandering. Secondly, it would be very self-defeating because if you don't write a show for the audience, how can a show possibly survive? I only write for the audience, and I hope that there will be some critics out there who like what I write. It's as simple as that. I really believe in "Camille". All I will do before opening night vis-a-vis critics is to say my usual prayer: "Please, God, just let them come in with open minds".

Thanks for your very nice comments on the show. Opening night was wild, and I, too, had to miss the closing night, as did Gabe. As you can imagine, that was a hard night to miss, but the whole experience was one of the best of my life. Thanks for writing.

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