Arthur Laurents: An appreciation
Arthur Laurents’ death came as a shock, even though the playwright and director was in his 90s. His vitality — which includes his prickliness — was as legendary as his talent. Surely, the man who wrote the books for “West Side Story” and “Gypsy” had another Broadway show left in him to stage.
Ah well. At least I can say Laurents left me with the theatrical memory of a lifetime — Patti LuPone’s dramatic portrait of the indefatigable stage mother in “Gypsy.” LuPone’s powerhouse style was in full-tilt mode. But under Laurents’ direction, she put her formidable skills at the service of the musical’s dramatic vision.
Understanding the musical as drama was Laurents' chief legacy. To read my appreciation of his great career, click here.
-- Charles McNulty
Photo: Arthur Laurents. Credit: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times