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Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton Paperback – October 30, 2000
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More About the Author
A former theatre critic at The Nation, The Village Voice, and British Vogue, among other publications, Lahr has published seventeen books on the theatre and two novels, "The Autograph Hound," and "Hot to Trot." His book "Dame Edna Everage and the Rise of Western Civilization," won the 1992 Roger Machell Prize for best book on the performing arts. His other works include "Light Fantastic: Adventures in Theatre," (1996) and "Show and Tell: New Yorker Profiles," (2000). In 2001, he edited "The Diaries of Kenneth." His expanded New Yorker article on Frank Sinatra was made into a book with photographs, "Frank Sinatra: The Artist and the Man." Lahr's most recent book is "Honky Tonk Parade: New Yorker Profiles of Show People," published in 2005.
Lahr served as literary adviser to the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis in 1968, and as Literary Manager of the Vivian Beaumont Theatre from 1969 to 1971. He was the co-producer of the 1987 film "Prick Up Your Ears," based on his Joe Orton biography of the same title, and was the editor of "The Orton Diaries." Lahr has also written numerous movie scripts. His short film "Sticky My Fingers. . . Fleet My Feet" (directed by John Hancock) was nominated for an Academy Award in 1971.
Lahr is a two-time winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. In 1968, he became the prize's youngest recipient; he was honored again in 1993. Lahr has written many stage adaptations, which have been performed in England and the United States, including:"Accidental Death of an Anarchist," "The Manchurian Candidate," "The Bluebird of Unhappiness: A Woody Allen Revue," and "Diary of a Somebody," which began at the Royal National Theatre, played the West End, and later toured England. He co-authored the Tony Award-winning "Elaine Stritch at Liberty," which won the 2002 Drama Desk Award for outstanding book of a musical. Lahr, who was the first drama critic to win a Tony Award, is the son of the comedian Bert Lahr, whom he wrote about in his biography "Notes on a Cowardly Lion." He divides his time between New York and London and maintains a Web site at www.johnlahr.com.
Top Customer Reviews
I would strongly advise people to read the book before seeing the film version (with Gary Oldman playing Orton)of the same name.
This is a theatrical bio as bold and brash as its subject. Lahr has done a thorough job of exposing this most controversial of playwrights. Joe was a sexual compulsive, an in-your-face homosexual who enjoyed sex with strangers in public places. He also loved to brag about his exploits, never skimping on a detail.
Just when "things" were finally coming together for Orton professionally, things were beginning to unravel for his companion Kenneth Halliwell, who brutally murdered Orton in August 1967. Some would say his rude death befit how he lived the rest of his life. I think that would be judging Joe too harshly. Perhaps he would have been a flash-in-the-pan or as lasting and popular as Stoppard. We'll never know. That's the tragedy. Good job Lahr.
Lahr also feels the need to cover the drudgery of his subject's professional dealings at a snail's pace. All of this is somewhat understandable, since Lahr admitted in the foreword that informaiton on Orton was downright scarce during certain periods, but IMO, he should've just shortened the book as a result because we all know good things come in small packages, less is sometimes more... it's quality not quantity... you get my point.
I recommend this book if only for the first half. Though the movie isn't as rich (as it's pressed for time) it moves along in a satisfying pace and covers all the major events in an OBJECTIVE way. I advise curious people to see the movie, hardcore fans may want to invest in the book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Weird book. Seems the story was backward, but a long read. Seemed like out of context.Published 6 months ago by Linda M. Scott
Don't get me wrong - this biography is very meticulous in its exploration of Orton and his works. Very meticulous indeed. Read morePublished 22 months ago by JOSEPH OLIVER
A fantastic biography of my favourite playwright. I highly recommend it.Very well written and very entertaining read. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Leith Lachlan Wulf
I have an unwritten rule which compels me to finish every book I open. LiveJournal readers know of two of my book reviews, pertaining to an alive Elvis and lesbian masochists,... Read morePublished on September 8, 2010 by Craig Rowland
From beginning to end you will be completely immersed in Orton's life. I didn't want the book to end. Beautifully written by John Lahr. Read morePublished on February 6, 2008 by wenniegirl-Tris
This is the worst "biography" I've ever read. So much that it took me more than a year to complete. Read morePublished on June 7, 2004
This is a great book. It evokes an era when playwrites had something new and significant to say about society and its mores. Read morePublished on October 7, 2002 by Roger Andrews