Gretchen Cryer was born in Dunreith, Indiana, and attended DePauw University as an English major. In one of her music classes, she met Nancy Ford, and the two forged a friendship that eventually lead to a number of professional collaborations as the only female composer-lyricist team in New York theater. Their first work, For Reasons of Loyalty, produced by Boston University, was written while the two were graduate students at Yale University.
Their first professional New York production was Now Is the Time For All Good Men (1967), a highly political piece about Gretchen's pacifist brother that was panned by the critics. Undaunted, they mounted The Last Sweet Days of Isaac - with Austin Pendleton and Alice Playten - in 1970, winning not only rave reviews, but the Obie, Drama Desk and Outer Circle Awards as well. From there they moved to Broadway.
Cryer and Ford's most notable success was I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road(1978), based on Cryer's life experiences. Gretchen not only co-wrote the piece, but performed in it as well. Producer Joseph Papp moved it from his Public Theater in lower Manhattan uptown to the Circle on the Square theater, where it ran for three years.
Gretchen's additional work as a performer included roles in Little Me (1962), 110 in the Shade (1963) and 1776 (1969). A musical adaptation of Anne of Green Gables written by Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford opened in March 2007 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in NYC, and a national tour began in September 2007.
Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford's musical, Einstein and the Roosevelts, premiered at DePauw University in October 2008. Einstein and the Roosevelts was performed at Denison University in November 2011 while Gretchen was the Jonathan R. Reynolds Playwright-in-Residence at Denison.
Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford's latest musical, Still Getting My Act Together, premiered at the York Theatre in New York City in June 2011.