From the distinguished critic, a brilliant collection of profiles on cultural icons that shows them as they ve never been seen.
In Show and Tell, John Lahr, probably the most intelligent and insightful writer on theater today (The New York Times Book Review), reinvents the celebrity profile to get at the essence of performance. Lahr s utterly winning and incisive profiles probe some of the most compelling, elusive, and irresistible public personas of our time, among them: Woody Allen, David Mamet, Ingmar Bergman, Frank Sinatra, Roseanne, Irving Berlin, Bob Hope, Mike Nichols, Wallace Shawn, Arthur Miller, and Neil LaBute. In these, and the moving autobiographical portraits of his father, Bert Lahr, who was the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, and his mother, a former Ziegfeld girl, Lahr charts the geography of fame.
Lahr s gift is to get inside both the art and the artist, to show how the work and the life intersect. He has had unusual access to his subjects, who talk to him with rare candor. In prose as lively as good conversation (Robert Brustein), he arrives at truths of uncommon clarity, a claim seconded by Arthur Miller, who said that Lahr s essay on him is by far the best thing about my stuff I ve ever read. These very special profiles, the product of eight years work at The New Yorker, deepen our understanding of their subjects and the culture that they profoundly reflect. Show and Tell, like the icons whose lives and work it so meticulously chronicles, corrupts an audience with pleasure.
The theater is absurdly difficult to write about it s fragile, elusive, ephemeral but John Lahr manages to write about it better than anybody in the English language. Richard Eyre
There s never been an American critic like John Lahr. His writing exalts, honors, and dignifies the profession and, more importantly, the art. Tony Kushner
John Lahr has been writing about theater and popular culture for The New Yorker since 1992. He is the author of sixteen books, among them Notes on a Cowardly Lion: The Biography of Bert Lahr and Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton, which was made into a film. The only two-time winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism in the history of the prize, John Lahr divides his time between New York and London.