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Arthur Laurents

Director, Writer, Creative Consultant, Source Material
( b. Jul 14, 1917 Brooklyn, New York, USA - d. May 05, 2011 New York, New York, USA ) Male
Relations: Godfather of Adam Guettel
Partner of Tom Hatcher ( -his death c. 2006)
Arthur Laurents was a playwright, screenwriter and director who wrote and ultimately transformed two of Broadway's landmark shows, Gypsy and West Side Story, and created one of Hollywood's most well-known romances, "The Way We Were".

He attended Erasmus High School and then went to Cornell University, where, he recalled, he spent most of one school year reading plays. He sold his first radio play to CBS for $30 and heard it broadcast. His career was barely under way when he was drafted into the Army in 1941.

Back in New York, he made his Broadway debut in 1945 with Home of the Brave, a play about a young Jewish soldier traumatized by witnessing the death of his best friend during a combat mission on an island in the Pacific during World War II. When the play, a look at anti-Semitism in the military, was adapted for the screen by Carl Foreman in 1949, the central character became a black G. I., but the theme of destructive prejudice was unchanged.

A milestone was West Side Story, the 1957 musical for which Mr. Laurents's book gave a contemporary spin to the tale of Romeo and Juliet. The Montagues and the Capulets, the families of the doomed young lovers, were now represented by the Jets and the Sharks, warring street gangs in Manhattan. Mr. Laurents also credited his partner Tom Hatcher with providing the spark that led to the hit revival of West Side Story in 2009. Mr. Hatcher had seen a production of it in Bogotá, Colombia, and suggested that a Broadway revival could benefit from having the Sharks, its members of Puerto Rican heritage, speak Spanish

Mr. Laurents directed the first revival of Gypsy in 1974 in London and on Broadway with Angela Lansbury in the lead, then staged it again on Broadway in 1989 with Tyne Daly as Rose. Bernadette Peters starred in the 2003 Broadway revival, directed by Sam Mendes.

Mr. Laurents managed to keep one foot in theater and the other in films. After a period away from Hollywood, he wrote the rave screenplay for "Anastasia" (1956), and adapted Françoise Sagan's novel "Bonjour Tristesse" for a 1958 film.

Four years later he agreed to direct a limited-run revival of Gypsy as part of the Encores! summer concert series at City Center. This time, Patti LuPone played Momma Rose. He decided that the production would be a tribute to his longtime partner, Tom Hatcher, who had urged him to direct it before he died in 2006. Mr. Laurents was determined, as he put it, to make it "an Event." The City Center production was a triumph for both Mr. Laurents and Ms. LuPone, and in March 2008 a full-fledged staging of Gypsy opened to rave reviews on Broadway. The show received seven Tony Award nominations, including one for Mr. Laurents, who was on the verge of his 91st birthday. The winners included Ms. LuPone, as best leading actress in a musical.

Other notable Broadway credits include the direction for the original La Cage Aux Falles in 1983 and Anyone Can Whistle.

Source: The New York Times



Productions Date of Productions
West Side Story
[Musical, Drama, Revival]
  • Directed by Arthur Laurents
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
Mar 19, 2009 - Jan 02, 2011
Gypsy
[Musical, Drama, Revival]
  • Directed by Arthur Laurents
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
Mar 27, 2008 - Jan 11, 2009
Gypsy
[Musical, Drama, Revival]
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
May 01, 2003 - May 30, 2004
Nick & Nora
[Musical, Original]
  • Directed by Arthur Laurents
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
Dec 08, 1991 - Dec 15, 1991
Gypsy
[Musical, Drama, Revival]
  • Directed by Arthur Laurents
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
Nov 16, 1989 - Jul 28, 1991
Jerome Robbins' Broadway
[Musical, Revue, Dance, Original]
  • Additional text by Arthur Laurents
Feb 26, 1989 - Sep 01, 1990
La Cage aux Folles
[Musical, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Arthur Laurents
Aug 21, 1983 - Nov 15, 1987
West Side Story
[Musical, Drama, Revival]
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
Feb 14, 1980 - Nov 30, 1980
The Madwoman of Central Park West
[Musical, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Arthur Laurents
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
Jun 13, 1979 - Aug 25, 1979
Gypsy
[Musical, Drama, Revival]
  • Directed by Arthur Laurents
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
Sep 23, 1974 - Jan 04, 1975
Hallelujah, Baby!
[Musical, Original]
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
Apr 26, 1967 - Jan 13, 1968
Do I Hear a Waltz?
[Musical, Original]
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
  • Based on the play "The Time of the Cuckoo" by Arthur Laurents
Mar 18, 1965 - Sep 25, 1965
West Side Story
[Musical, Drama, Revival]
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
Apr 08, 1964 - May 03, 1964
Anyone Can Whistle
[Musical, Original]
  • Directed by Arthur Laurents
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
Apr 04, 1964 - Apr 11, 1964
I Can Get It for You Wholesale
[Musical, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Arthur Laurents
Mar 22, 1962 - Dec 08, 1962
Invitation to a March
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Arthur Laurents
  • Written by Arthur Laurents
Oct 29, 1960 - Feb 04, 1961
West Side Story
[Musical, Drama, Revival]
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
Apr 27, 1960 - Dec 10, 1960
Gypsy
[Musical, Drama, Original]
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
May 21, 1959 - Mar 25, 1961
West Side Story
[Musical, Drama, Original]
  • Book by Arthur Laurents
Sep 26, 1957 - Jun 27, 1959
A Clearing in the Woods
[Play, Original]
  • Written by Arthur Laurents
Jan 10, 1957 - Feb 09, 1957
The Time of the Cuckoo
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Written by Arthur Laurents
Oct 15, 1952 - May 30, 1953
The Bird Cage
[Play, Original]
  • Written by Arthur Laurents
Feb 22, 1950 - Mar 11, 1950
Home of the Brave
[Play, Drama, Original]
  • Written by Arthur Laurents
Dec 27, 1945 - Feb 23, 1946
Special Events Date of Special Events
Angela Lansbury - A Celebration
[Special, Benefit, Original]
  • Written by Arthur Laurents
  • Creative Consultant: Arthur Laurents
Nov 17, 1996 - Nov 17, 1996
2008 Tony Award® Best Direction of a Musical
 Gypsy [nominee]
Directed by Arthur Laurents
1984 Tony Award® Best Direction of a Musical
winnerLa Cage aux Folles [winner]
Directed by Arthur Laurents
1975 Tony Award® Best Direction of a Musical
 Gypsy [nominee]
Directed by Arthur Laurents
1975 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical
winnerGypsy [winner]
Directed by Arthur Laurents
1968 Tony Award® Best Musical
winnerHallelujah, Baby! [winner]
Book by Arthur Laurents
1960 Tony Award® Best Musical
 Gypsy [nominee]
Book by Arthur Laurents
1958 Tony Award® Best Musical
 West Side Story [nominee]
Book by Arthur Laurents
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