John Lahr, the longtime New Yorker writer and theater critic, has penned a massive new biography — “Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh.”  He will be in Chicago to talk about the book at Steppenwolf Theatre, joing artistic director Martha Lavey for a conversation at the theater at 7 p.m. on Oct. 13. The conversation will be followed by a Q & A and a book signing in the theater lobby.

Williams, whose work included “The Glass Menagerie,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Sweet Bird of Youth,” radically changed the nature of American theater. And Lahr’s book delves into many aspects of his life and career — his warring family, his lobotomized sister, his guilt, his plays, his turbulent homosexual life, his politics, his misreported death, and questions about his estate.

Among Lahr’s twenty books are a work about his father, “Notes On a Cowardly Lion: the Biography of Bert Lahr”; “Dame Edna Everage: Backstage with Barry Humphries,” and” Prick Up Your Ears: the Biography of Joe Orton,” which was made into a film. He edited Orton’s diaries, as well as those of  the British critic, 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. And 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

Tickets for this one-night-only event at Steppenwolf, 1650 N. Halsted, are $10 . Call  312-335-1650 or visit