Tony Randall loves the theater. Having made his career in light comedy, and his money in television, he now wants only to produce, direct, and act in dramatic masterpieces. This may be slightly more worrisome—clowns who aspire to play Hamlet traditionally get less than great results—but it's still praiseworthy. During the years of his now-battered National Actors Theatre's struggle for survival, Randall has made countless mistakes, but he's also kept the faith, which is the important thing. I don't much like his current production, or his current way of operating his theater, and I may have harsh words for both before this review ends. But my harshness comes from respect, not from contempt. What Randall wants is both fundamentally good and near-impossible to achieve in New York; whatever else he may have done wrong, he's never stopped wanting it. And after a century's worth of dreamers who had the same dream, and got kicked about for it by New York in exactly the same way, what Randall wants is harder than ever to attain. Yet he keeps trying. So hooray for him. Randall began with the idea of a permanent company on Broadway doing a continuous season. After some bad miscalculations in the choice of casts, directors, and plays, the company idea faded, replaced by a one-production-at-a-time policy, heavy on star names and familiar American plays. Its choices soon dropped down a notch, from the commendable to the commercially viable. And the star names that had once animated starring roles have become box-office decoration, scattered through the... More >>>