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Show and Tell: New Yorker Profiles

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In Show and Tell, John Lahr 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, including 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 in the moving autobiographical portraits of his father, Bert Lahr, and his mother, a former Ziegfeld girl, Lahr charts the geography of fame.

348 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2000

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About the author

John Lahr

51 books32 followers
John Lahr is the senior drama critic of The New Yorker, where he has written about theatre and popular culture since 1992. Among his eighteen books are 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.

He has twice won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. Lahr, whose stage adaptations have been performed around the world, received a Tony Award for co-writing Elaine Stritch at Liberty.

He divides his time between London and New York.

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5 stars
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21 (52%)
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10 (25%)
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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Profile Image for Rekha.
858 reviews
July 28, 2008
Biographies on speed!

What if you were a biographer and had four months to exhaustively research your subject, and you took over a thousand pages of transcribed interviews, and then tried to distill what you've discovered down to 10 pages or less? That's what the profiles in The New Yorker do, and Lahr manages to do this in a consistently readable way. If you know a lot about the subject in question anyway (for me it was Woody Allen, Frank Sinatra, Arthur Miller and Eddie Izzard) then you don't get many new insights from these profiles, but if you are less familiar with some of the subjects (I know David Mamet's work very well but not his life, for example) then the profiles are especially good. Also, the author is the son of Bert Lahr (the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz) and he does a profile on his famous father, which was interesting.
65 reviews
June 3, 2011
Didn't read all of this, just selected profiles on David Mamet, Ingmar Bergman, Wallace Shawn, Neil Labute, and Frank Sinatra. Lahr has a real gift for capturing the feel of his subjects' personalities, as well as offering brilliant interpretations of their work.
If you're a fan of any of these people you should read these.
Particularly insightful were the ones on Mamet, Neil Labute, and Berman.
But the profile of Sinatra is the single best short overview of his life, music, personal flaws and genius. Truly amazing and a must-read.
Author 1 book3 followers
October 19, 2013
John Lahr, critic and biographer, profiles 90's entertainment icons and a few elder statesmen. Expectedly, it's all about the public-private split - but Lahr, to a subject, goes for something deeper: the hard-working craftsman masked by the dichotomy. It's a case study, too, of American individualism, root of deification and destruction.
Profile Image for Vivencio.
125 reviews1 follower
March 11, 2013
as always, these new yorker pieces inform and entertain.
Profile Image for Vincent Eaton.
Author 6 books10 followers
April 16, 2013
New Yorker profiles of artists, comedians, actors and movie-makers. My kind of heaven. John Lahr, excellent writer, easy but exact, with some surprises and high-level observational skills.
25 reviews12 followers
October 13, 2014
Some fascinating trivia.
Solid insight.
But I could stop reading any of them at any point, which is telling.
Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews

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