CRF Blog

Interview of the Day: John Lahr

by Bill Hayes

As part of its By the Book series, the New York Times Book Review interviews writer John Lahr.

What are the best books ever written about the theater? Is there one book that is of particular importance to you personally?

For historical witness and theatrical insight, Elia Kazan’s “A Life” is in a class by itself. I also admire the depth and range of Margaret Brenman-Gibson’s psychoanalytic approach in “Odets: American Playwright.” For the punishing and hilarious infighting of backstage politics, Michael Blakemore’s “Stage Blood,” about creating Britain’s National Theater with Sir Laurence Olivier, is first-rate: unusual both for its candor and its elegance. As a seminal academic study of Shakespeare, C. L. Barber’s “Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy” stands out for me down the decades as a revelation about comedy and its relation to Elizabethan society. [more]