John Lahr Leaving Critic’s Post at the New Yorker

The New Yorker blog just announced that “after twenty years as The New Yorker’s chief theatre critic, John Lahr will give up regular reviewing to focus on the Profiles he also contributes to the magazine, as well as on book projects.”

The erudite Lahr “joined The New Yorker in 1992, and, over the past two decades, he has written around a million published words for the magazine. Lahr comes from a family of performers: his mother was a Ziegfeld girl, and his father, Bert Lahr, was the lion in The Wizard of Oz.” You can read the complete entry at New Yorker Blog

John Lahr moves on as the New Yorker’s theatre critic.


Lahr Gems

On Dame Edna: Dame Edna had announced herself to the critics and the newspapers weeks before the opening of the 1989 show—“Back with a Vengeance! The Second Coming”—and had done it in her own inimitable style: “My gynecologist, my numerologists, my biorhythmologist, my T’ai-Chi instructor, my primal scream therapist, and my aromatherapist all tell me that I will be at the height of my powers as a woman from March 9, 1989, for a strictly limited season.”

On Liza Minelli at the Palace: The day I saw the show, after each of the nineteen songs on the playlist, people in the orchestra seats jumped to their feet to cheer the diminutive dynamo. “You’re fabulous!” “We love you!” voices called from the darkness. “Don’t you ever, ever think that I don’t know I’m up here because of you,” she replied, pandering and picking their pockets at the same time. (Seats cost up to a hundred and twenty-six dollars.) In one song, written especially for the show, Minelli promises her audience, “I would never leave you”—a truly terrifying piece of show-biz flimflammery. In fact, what she means to say is the opposite: Please don’t leave me.

On Angels in America: High on a hill in downtown Los Angeles, the thirty-six-year-old playwright Tony Kushner stood watching an usher urge the people outside the Mark Taper Forum to take their seats for the opening of “Angels in America,” his two-part “gay fantasia on national themes”…. Kushner has not written a gay problem play, or agitprop Storm and Schlong; nor is he pleading for tolerance. “I think that’s a terrible thing to be looking for,” he told me. Instead, with immense good humor and accessible characters, he honors the gay community by telling a story that sets its concerns in the larger historical context of American political life.

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