Mainly on Directing: Gypsy, West Side Story, and Other Musicals
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From Arthur Laurents, playwright, screenwriter, director—a mesmerizing book about theater, the art, the artist, the insider, the outsider—and the making of two of the greatest musicals of the American stage, West Side Story and Gypsy. It is a book profoundly enriched by the author’s two loves, love for the theater and love for his partner of fifty-two years, Tom Hatcher, who shared and inspired every aspect of his life and his work.
Laurents writes about the musicals he directed, I Can Get It for You Wholesale, its producer David Merrick (the “Abominable Showman”), and its (very young) stars Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould . . . He writes about Stephen Sondheim’s Anyone Can Whistle, which starred Angela Lansbury and Lee Remick, marking the debut for each in musical theater. He summons up the challenges and surprises that came with the making of La Cage aux Folles, the first big Broadway musical that was gay and glad to be.
He writes in rich detail about his most recent production of Gypsy, how it began as an act of love, a love that spread through the entire company and resulted in a Gypsy unlike any other. And about his new bilingual production of West Side Story.
And he talks, as well, about the works of other directors—Fiddler on the Roof; Kiss Me, Kate; Spring Awakening; Street Scene; The Phantom of the Opera; LoveMusik; Sweeney Todd.
Moving, exhilarating, provocative—a portrait of an artist working with other artists; a unique close-up look at today’s American musical theater by a man who’s been at its red-hot center for more than five decades.
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