In his collection of essays and reviews, Robert Brustein makes the argument that the American Theatre is enjoying a renaissance that has not been unacknowledged.
In this collection of reviews and essays, most reprinted from the New Republic , the founder and artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre considers the state of American theater in the 1980s. Despite what he considers the artistic sterility of Broadway and the economic problems afflicting all theaters, he believes that ``we are in a period of theatrical renewal and change,'' finding American playwrights, directors and actors to be the artistic equals of their highly praised English colleagues. Brustein's passion for the theater informs every sentence: his reviews make absorbing reading whether or not one has seen the productions; the foreword and three introductory essays are compelling calls to honor and sustain creative effort in the theater. The author makes no secret of his prejudices. He prefers serious drama to musical comedy, regional theaters to Broadway, Joseph Papp's risk-taking New York Shakespeare Festival to the cautious Lincoln Center management. It's not necessary to share Brustein's opinions to enjoy his essays, which are provocative, challenging and alive with the conviction that ``a country without a theater is a country without a soul.''