Artistic Director Martha Lavey engages in conversation with The New Yorker Senior Drama Critic John Lahr about his latest book, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh in a special one-night-only event on Monday, October 13 at 7pm in the Downstairs Theatre. John Lahr, who served as senior drama critic for The New Yorker for more than two decades, recently released his twentieth book, an authoritative biography on Tennessee Williams that gives intimate access into the mind of a writer whose plays reshaped the American theater. The conversation will include a Q&A followed by a book signing in the lobby. Copies of Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh will be available for purchase at Steppenwolf’s gift shop.
“Our 2014/15 season theme, How did I get here? explores five stories about losing—and finding—your way. Tennessee Williams arguably wrote some of the greatest plays surrounding these themes. John Lahr has penned a seminal account of William’s life and work that unearths vital questions and astounding insights that I look forward to further investigating through a conversation with John and the audience.” – Artistic Director Martha Lavey
Among John Lahr’s twenty books are 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,” says The 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 21 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. For more information on Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, visit tennessewilliamsbiography.com.
BOOK REVIEWS“[Lahr’s] ‘Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh’ is a crucial contribution to the arguments that should always rage around a man who was one of the greatest American playwrights of his tempestuous century.”
– Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
“By far the best book ever written about America’s greatest playwright…a study of Williams’s imagination and career. Mr. Lahr has decided not to track his subject in sequential detail but to dive into the tumultuous depths of the author’s psyche and the glamorous chaos of his stage productions. He brings us as close to Williams as we are ever likely to get.”
– The Wall Street Journal
“John Lahr… has given Williams’s admirers a true gift in “Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh”: a biography worthy of its subject.”
– Christian Science Monitor
“The culmination of 12 years of work, “Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh” is a dazzling, deeply sympathetic and psychologically acute look at the life and work of a tortured genius who rocketed to fame after World War II…an epic achievement that will be relevant not just to theater buffs but to anyone interested in the “spiritual shift” that occurred in American life after the war.”
– The Washington Times