Friday, May 6, 2011

Arthur Laurents: 1917-2011

Theater giant Arthur Laurents has died at the age of 93.  He was a playwright, screenwriter, and director whose greatest accomplishments included West Side Story, Gypsy, and a string of films from Rope through The Way We Were, to The Turning Point.  He never stopped working.  He directed the 2008 revival of Gypsy starring Patti Lupone and 2009 revival of West Side Story.  Gypsy was a tribute to his partner of 52 years, Tom Hatcher, who died in 2006.  He also attributed Hatcher as the inspiration for the West Side Story revival as Hatcher had given him the idea of having the Sharks speak Spanish.  Laurents also wrote a number of serious plays, including two that premiered in 2009, New Year's Eve and Come Back, Come Back Wherever You Are.  He said of his plays, “Entertainment is dessert, it needs to be balanced by the main course: theater of substance.”