John Lahr, interviewed by Richard Wolinsky.
John Lahr spent over two decades as drama critic for The New Yorker, and continues to write profiles for the magazine. His latest book, Joy Ride, consists of essays and reviews from the magazine. The author of several books, including Notes on a Cowardly Lion about his father, actor Bert Lahr, and a recent biography of Tennessee Williams, John Lahr also co-authored Elaine Stritch’s classic one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, and has served as a theatrical artistic director. Being on both sides of the fence, as theatrical professional and critic, he is perhaps the leading person in America to discuss theater today.
This interview was recorded in the KPFA studios on October 4, 2015, but his views on political theater in the interview have only become more relevant with the recent election of Donald Trump and the growing resistance to his presidency.
In the interview, Lahr also discusses several aspects of criticism, including the relationship of theater to film, Tennessee Williams’ last plays, the work of August Wilson (the first of the ten-play cycle from HBO, “Fences” starring Denzel Washington, opens in theaters in December 2016), and his relationship with his famous father.
A shorter version of the interview aired on Dec. 5, 2016 as an Arts-Waves program.