Ideal (play)

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Ideal 1989 play ad.jpg
Ad for the 1989 premier
Written byAyn Rand
Date premieredOctober 13, 1989 (1989-10-13)
Place premieredMelrose Theater
Original languageEnglish

Ideal is a play written by Ayn Rand. It follows Kay Gonda, a movie star suspected of murder, as she seeks support from various fans, most of whom disappoint her. Written in the 1930s, it was never produced or published during Rand's lifetime. Since her death it has since been published multiple times and produced twice, in 1989 and 2010.


Rand originally wrote the story as a novelette in 1934, and revised it to a stage play around 1936.[1] The text of the play was first published in 1984 as part of The Early Ayn Rand, an anthology of Rand's previously unpublished fiction. It was re-published in 2005 in Three Plays, alongside her plays Night of January 16th and Think Twice.

In 1989, Michael Paxton staged the play at the Melrose Theater, a 99-seat venue in Los Angeles, California.[2][3] The production opened on October 13, 1989, and closed on November 19, 1989.[4] A video of the production was released in 2004.

In 2010, it was produced as an Off-Broadway show at the 59E59 Theaters in New York. Karina Martins produced and Jenny Beth Snyder directed. It opened on June 17, 2010, and closed on July 3, 2010.[5]

On July 7, 2015, Penguin Random House published an edition featuring the novelette version of Ideal along with the play version.[6]


The story is generally regarded as a poor fit for theater. In his preface for its publication, Rand's heir Leonard Peikoff described the play as "unavoidably somewhat static" and lacking a "developed plot structure".[7] Ronald Merrill said it would have been better left as a novelette because it is "not well suited to the stage".[8]

The 1989 production received mixed reviews. The reviewer for the Los Angeles Times disliked the play's "clunky structure", but complimented the staging, scenery, costumes and other elements for bringing life to the production.[9] In Liberty magazine, the reviewer complimented Rand's writing skills and the "remarkable production design", but found the lighting and direction lacking.[10]

The 2010 production received negative reviews from The New York Times,[11] the New York Post,[12] The Village Voice,[13] and Backstage.[14]


  1. ^ Heller, Anne C. (2009). Ayn Rand and the World She Made. New York: Doubleday. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-385-51399-9. OCLC 229027437.
  2. ^ Gladstein, Mimi Reisel (1999). The New Ayn Rand Companion. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-313-30321-5. OCLC 40359365.
  3. ^ Martinez, Julio (August 4, 2015). "Inside LA STAGE History: Paul Kent & The Melrose Theater". @ This Stage. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  4. ^ "Ideal (Stage Play Version)". Michael Paxton. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  5. ^ "59E59: Ideal". 59E59 Theaters. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  6. ^ Maloney, Jennifer (July 1, 2015). "Read an Excerpt of Ayn Rand's Novel Ideal (Exclusive)". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
  7. ^ Peikoff, Leonard (2005). "Ideal: Preface". In Ralston, Richard E. (ed.). Three Plays. New York: New American Library. p. 93. ISBN 0-451-21466-8.
  8. ^ Merrill, Ronald E. (1991). The Ideas of Ayn Rand. La Salle, Illinois: Open Court Publishing. p. 42. ISBN 0-8126-9157-1. OCLC 23254190.
  9. ^ Loynd, Ray (October 20, 1989). "Stage Review: Ideal: A Tour de Force From Ayn Rand". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  10. ^ Ziarko, Charles (January 1990). "Ayn Rand Is Alive and Well and Living in Los Angeles" (PDF). Liberty. pp. 71–72.
  11. ^ Zinoman, Jason (June 25, 2010). "No Break for Meek, or Actress on the Run". The New York Times. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  12. ^ Scheck, Frank (June 25, 2010). "Rand's Obscure, Repetitive Ideal Far from Perfect". New York Post. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  13. ^ Soloski, Alexis (June 29, 2010). "Ayn Rand's Ideal Is No Fountainhead of Genius". The Village Voice. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  14. ^ Sheward, David (June 23, 2010). "Off-Off-Broadway Review: Ideal". Backstage. Retrieved July 1, 2014.

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