Book Club with John Lahr

Bloomsbury Institute
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Bloomsbury Book Club with John Lahr

Thursday 10th December

Interview by Geoff Colman

For our last Book Club of 2015 we’re delighted to welcome John Lahr, the most celebrated theatre critic of his generation. His expertise and exhilaration shine through in his writing and the highly anticipated Joy Ride: Lives of the Theatricals includes the best of his New Yorker profiles and reviews.

From modern greats, such as Arthur Miller, Harold Pinter, David Mamet, Tony Kushner and August Wilson, through the work of directors like Nicholas Hytner and Ingmar Bergman, to Shakespeare himself, the depth of Lahr’s understanding is plain to see and invigorating to read.

Lahr, who is the longest-serving New Yorker senior theatre critic (1992– 2013), will be interviewed by director and acting coach Geoff Colman. Together they will bring us up close and personal with the writers, the plays and the directors and give Book Club guests a delightful and unique access to the theatre world.

 ‘John Lahr’s profiles are the nearest we get to modern theatre history. What Lahr has is the key to the dressing room door.’ The Spectator

 ‘John Lahr writes – beautifully – about the theatre and those who make it with an unrivalled blend of enthusiasm, perception and analytical precision. This book is justly titled – his joy is irresistible’ Nicholas Hytner

John Lahr has written twenty books including “Notes On a Cowardly Lion: the Biography of Bert Lahr, “Dame Edna Everage: Backstage with Barry Humphries” (Roger Machell Prize), and “Prick Up Your Ears: the Biography of Joe Orton (“as good as literary biography gets”-- New York Times) which was made into a film. He has edited the diaries of Joe Orton and Kenneth Tynan.  Since 1992, Lahr has been a regular contributor to the New Yorker where for twenty-one years he was the magazine’s Senior drama critic. He has twice won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism and twice been included in volumes of “Best American Essays”. His stage adaptations have been performed around the world; he is the first critic ever to win a Tony Award for co-authoring the 2002 “Elaine Stritch at Liberty”. His biography “Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh” was a Finalist for the 2014 National Book Award and won the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award for best biography as well as The Sheridan Morley Award for Best Theatre Biography. The American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award in recognition of “prose style”. He lives in London.

Ticket Details

Book Club tickets are £20 including a copy of Joy Ride posted to you in advance, or £10 without the book. Season membership costs £80. To join please email

Date: Thursday 10th December
Time: Drinks from 6pm and talk from 6:30pm to 7.30pm
Place: Bloomsbury Publishing, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP
Tickets: £20 including a hardback book or £10 without the book

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