Arthur Laurents Hub




Playwright, Screenwriter, Director Arthur Laurents Dead at 93

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Arthur Laurents has died at 93. Two graphs from the lengthy NYT obit:

Arthur Laurents, the 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,” died on Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 93. The cause was complications of pneumonia, said Scott Rudin, a producer of the most recent Broadway revival of “Gypsy.”

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He had also long since cast off whatever remaining doubts he had about his homosexuality and soon lost count of the sexual experiences he had while in the Army. In “Original Story By,” a memoir published in 2000, he was frank about his gay encounters, referring to his partners as “those unremembered hundreds.” Tom Hatcher, a former actor and real estate developer, would be his companion for 52 years.

The image up top is from a fairly recent New York magazine article on his return to the stage at 91 with his revival of West Side Story.

Two years ago, Mo Rocca delivered a thorough interview of 91-year-old Arthur Laurents in the context of his revival of West Side Story on Broadway. In addition to plenty of rehearsal  and show footage, they also sat down to discuss his reputation for being mean, Barbra Streisand, and his late longtime partner Tom Hatcher.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Playwright, Screenwriter, Director Arthur Laurents Dead at 93" »


Major Playwriting Award Established in Gay Couple's Name

LaurentsThe AP reports on a new prize for emerging playwrights from the foundation of Gypsy and West Side Story playwright Arthur Laurents:

"An annual $150,000 prize has been established by the foundation of Tony-winning playwright-director Arthur Laurents and partner Tom Hatcher. The Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award will be given for an unproduced, full-length play of social relevance by an emerging American playwright. The prize includes a $50,000 cash award for the selected playwright and a $100,000 grant for production costs of the play's premiere at a nonprofit theater. The foundation said Thursday it's the first major award for playwrighting to be named in honor of a gay couple."

Submissions will be accepted form June 15 to September 15.

Photo: Laurents and Hatcher in 1962. Hatcher died in 2006 of lung cancer.


Arthur Laurents Interviewed as West Side Story Returns

Laurents

Mo Rocca delivers a thorough interview of 91-year-old Arthur Laurents in the context of his revival of West Side Story on Broadway. In addition to plenty of rehearsal  and show footage, they also sit down to discuss his reputation for being mean, Barbra Streisand, and his late longtime partner Tom Hatcher.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Arthur Laurents Interviewed as West Side Story Returns" »


New York Dishes on Arthur Laurents' Broadway Comeback

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As his West Side Story returns to Broadway following the recent revival of Gypsy with Patti Lupone, New York magazine serves up a big profile on 91-year-old Arthur Laurents, big on details of both revivals and Laurents' relationships with his collaborators, rivals, enemies, and late longtime partner:

Laurents "A conversation with Laurents is dishy fun, as long as you aren’t worried about collateral damage. (An ex-friend: “He always wants to suck you into his malevolent opinions of someone; you have a choice to agree and feel hypocritical or disagree and get dropped.”) His mastery of the writer’s zoom lens for the unimprovable detail is always evident: the musical he and his partner, Tom Hatcher (pictured, left, with Laurents in 1962), took Laurents’s parents to see when they met—She Loves Me; the stack of “how to stop drinking” books on a table as martinis are served at eleven in the morning. You hardly realize that while you were being distracted by such treats, the seducer has rotated his anecdotes 90 degrees; wherever they started, they now star him. And he knows exactly how to play the Robert Redford role of glamorous writer. His five years in the Army, he says, were partly spent “writing and drinking and screwing my head off” in a radio unit “created for me.” A story about his analysis ends up suggesting that Laurents himself is indirectly responsible for the removal of homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of perversions. If provocation is Laurents’s default mode, his life experience long ago taught him the value, and perhaps the necessity, of unashamedness. Even in the fifties he was audacious enough to put Hatcher—a drop-dead hunk of a model turned actor he met selling clothes at a Beverly Hills men’s store—in some of his plays. But living openly as a gay man (and a lefty atheist Jew to boot) was only the start of it."

I've posted some shots of the West Side Story revival here and here.

The NY mag article goes more into Laurents' relationship with Hatcher, who died in 2006 of lung cancer: "After 52 years together, Laurents understandably sees his partner’s hand in everything he does. Until Hatcher died, Laurents didn’t even have an ATM card. And it was Hatcher who convinced him to direct the LuPone Gypsy, so that Mendes’s version wouldn’t be the last one seen on Broadway in Laurents’s life. Part enforcer, part enabler, part keeper of the flame and of the grudges, Hatcher made Laurents’s writing life possible and somehow still would."

When You're a Shark, You're a Shark All the Way [new york magazine]


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