If a play isn’t worth dying for, maybe it isn’t worth writing.
—Terrence McNally

We can excuse McNally his fervor. He is, in many respects, an unlikely convert to the Salman Rushdie club. Is The Ritz, a farce about a garbage man on the lam who takes refuge in a steam bath, worth dying for? Is Next, a comedy about a middle-aged movie theater manager suddenly ordered to take an army physical, worth dying for? Is The Rink, a Liza Minnelli/Chita Rivera vehicle about a run-down roller rink, worth dying for? Liza and Chita are always to die for, darling, but one assumes McNally meant his cry of defiance rather more literally. Still, over the years he evidently thought all three worth writing.

By the time Corpus Christi actually opened, the defense had somehow managed to reverse itself: if a play isn’t worth writing, surely it isn’t worth dying...

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