Main content

John Lahr

Michael Berkeley's guest is theatre critic John Lahr. He selects music from the show Elaine Stritch at Liberty, a song sung by his father, Bert, plus Theolonious Monk and Mozart.

John Lahr talks to Michael Berkeley about his passion for the American Songbook, his award-winning biographies of Tennessee Williams and Joe Orton, and his father, the actor Bert Lahr, who was the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.

Described by the playwright Edward Albee as 'the greatest drama critic of my generation', John was for 22 years chief critic and profile writer for the New Yorker.

Then, in 2002, John Lahr the drama critic became John Lahr the dramatist - and the first drama critic ever to win a Tony Award when he wrote actress Elaine Stritch's one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty.

He chooses music from that show, a song sung by his father, a Theolonious Monk track which reminds him of his wife Connie Booth, and he ends with the joy of Mozart's Jupiter Symphony.

Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Available now

29 minutes

Last on

Sun 2 Aug 2015 12:00


Music Played

  • Leonard Bernstein

    Candide: Overture

    Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Leonard Bernstein.
  • Jule Styne

    Catch our act at the Met (Two on the Aisle)

    Performer: Bert Lahr. Performer: Dolores Gray.
  • Charlie Foxx


    Composer: Inez Foxx. Performer: Charlie Foxx. Performer: Inez Foxx.
  • Franz Schubert

    Gute Nacht (Winterreise)

    Performer: Anna Tilbrook. Singer: James Gilchrist.
  • Noël Coward

    Why do the Wrong People Travel

    Singer: Elaine Stritch.
  • Jimmy Van Heusen

    Darn that Dream

    Performer: Thelonious Monk.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Symphony No.41 in C major (Jupiter) K.551 (4th mvt: Molto Allegro)

    Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Leonard Bernstein.


Six mind-expanding music podcasts to download in 2019

Six mind-expanding music podcasts to download in 2019

Love music? Looking for new ear-fodder for your commute? We've got you covered.

Archive Unlocked: Two Decades of Private Passions

Archive Unlocked: Two Decades of Private Passions

Michael Berkeley introduces memorable interviews from Private Passions' archives.