A DAY LIKE TODAY: Arthur Laurents was born

On a day like today, in 1917, the American playwright, director and screenwriter was born Arthur Laurents. For this reason, we want to pay tribute to him by reviewing his biography and recalling some of the scenes he devised for musical theater.

From a Jewish family, Arthur Laurents he wrote his first script on the occasion of a class on radio writing at New York University. Your instructor, William N. Robson, decided to publish it on CBS Radio and, thanks to that, Arthur Laurents he was able to participate in various radio programs. When World War II started, then, he was assigned to a studio where he had to write educational films, and he got the necessary training to become a screenwriter for both Hollywood and Broadway.

His first major job was WEST SIDE STORY (1957), in which he was with the musician Leonard Bernstein, the lyricist Stephen Sondheim and the choreographer Jerome Robbins, and for which it deserved a Best Musical nomination.

Two years later, he was the playwright of GYPSY, again next to Stephen Sondheim Y Jerome Robbins, and with the musician Jule Styne, which would also be nominated for the same award. One of his most celebrated scenes is, perhaps, that of the confrontation between the two main characters, Madame Rose and her daughter Gypsy Rose Lee, in the dressing room. Here, we can see, in particular, Natalie Wood already Rosalind Russell interpret it in its film version:

Finally, Arthur Laurents won the Tony for Best Musical thanks to HALLELUJAH, BABY! (1967). Due to his role as director, he would also pick up another for THE CAGE AUX FOLLES (1983), the musical of Harvey Fierstein Y Jerry Herman.

Since from that time he assumed the direction of GYPSY Y WEST SIDE STORY on several occasions, in 2009 he presented a book called Mainly on Directing: Gypsy, West Side Story and Other Musicals, where he not only spoke of his own experience, but of directors he always admired and how he thinks they influenced him.

The author passed away at the age of 93 in 2011.