Friday, March 20, 2009

Out in Film: Arthur Laurents

Idol worship: Arthur Laurents, writer/director.

- His early days were spent writing for radio, but he found his calling in the theater. However, it wasn't until his third play — The Time of the Cuckoo — that he had a hit.

- Following that success, he penned the books for two legendary musical classics, West Side Story and Gypsy. He would go on to direct the latter twice on Broadway (in 1975 and 2008), receiving Tony Award nominations both times.

- He has won the Tony twice, for writing Hallelujah, Baby! and directing La Cage aux Folles. His other stage credits include I Can Get It for You Wholesale, Anyone Can Whistle, Nick & Nora and Do I Hear a Waltz?, the musical version of his Time of the Cuckoo.

- For the silver screen, he wrote the scripts for The Snake Pit (for which he was infamously denied screen credit by the Writers Guild of America), Rope (starring his then-lover Farley Granger), Anastasia, Bonjour Tristesse, The Way We Were and The Turning Point. For the latter, he was nominated for two Academy Awards, as both writer and co-producer.

- His work can currently be seen on Broadway with the much-anticipated bilingual revival of West Side Story, which officially opened last night. Of the new production, he has said, "This show will be radically different from any other production of West Side Story ever done."

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