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New Yorker Theater Critic John Lahr to Step Down

Hilton Als will lead the magazine's theater criticism

The New Yorker's John Lahr is stepping down from the magazine's top theater critic post after 20 years and passing the torch to Hilton Als.

Albany.eduLondon-based Lahr, 71, will continue to write the lengthy profiles the New Yorker is known for, while Als — who lives in New York City — will pen the weekly's take on the theater scene, the Condé Nast-owned publication said Monday in a statement to TheWrap.

Before becoming theater critic, Lahr  contributed profiles to the magazine.

"Noel Coward once said, 'I'm not vain but I'm proud.' Me too," Lahr said in the statement. "I'm proud of the New Yorker, proud to be part of its story, and proud of the range and depth of the theatre coverage on my watch."

He was hired in 1992 by then-editor Tina Brown — who now runs Newsweek and the Daily Beast — to revitalize the New Yorker's theater pages.

During his tenure as the magazine's lead critic, Lahr won several awards, including two George Jean Nathan awards for Dramatic Criticism and two entries published in the compilation "Best American Essays." he also won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for "Sinatra's Song," his 1997 profile of Frank Sinatra.

Lahr has written several biographies, including "Prick Up Your Ears" about playwright Joe Orton and "Notes on a Cowardly Lion" about his father, Bert Lahr, the actor who played the panthera in "The Wizard of Oz." The latter book, released in 1980, was adapted to a film written by Alan Bennett seven years later.

Als, who has written for the New Yorker since October 1994, has served as a theater critic since 2002. He will now lead the magazine's criticism.