Original Story By: A Memoir of Broadway and Hollywood
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(Applause Books). Here is the original story of a true original, the celebrated and internationally renowned director, playwright and screenwriter Arthur Laurents, whose creative genius continues to energize American stage and screen today. Say his name, and images of West Side Story , Gypsy, Anastasia, The Turning Point , and The Way We Were appear. Laurents' highly praised memoir is a dazzling portrait of his life as he recounts the great moments, the trials and the joys of his incredible career. He takes us into his world, peopled with the creative artists, directors, actors and personalities who came of age in the theatre and in Hollywood after WWII. Later, back in New York, he writes about jump-starting Barbra Streisand's career by casting her in I Can Get It for You Wholesale . He writes about the creation of Gypsy with Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim. And he writes about coming together in a complex, fraught collaboration with his three old pals, Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein and Sondheim for West Side Story . Throughout, Laurents is funny, fierce, and frank a life recounted as richly as it was lived. "This is a historic work. A 'must' for show biz mavens." LIZ SMITH, Newsday & Syndicated
Best known as the author of scripts for such hit musicals as West Side Story and Gypsy, Arthur Laurents began his career writing strong, socially conscious plays like Home of the Brave and Time of the Cuckoo; he also has impressive credits as a screenwriter (The Way We Were) and stage director (La Cage aux Folles). Such a varied professional life makes for absorbing reading in this lively autobiography stuffed with famous names, including George Cukor, Katharine Hepburn, Barbra Streisand, and Stephen Sondheim, all of whom emerge vividly in thumbnail portraits ranging from affectionately frank (Stella Adler) to frankly unflattering (Jerome Robbins). Laurents, born in 1917, was a Marxist during his college years at Cornell, and he retains strong political opinions to this day: he has no use for bigots of any kind, and his memoir displays no inclination to forgive people like Elia Kazan, who named names during the 1950s. Yet the author also has a marvelous sense of humor (after critic Frank Rich inadvertently made public reference to Laurents's homosexuality, Laurents introduced him at a charity lunch as "the man who outed me as a liberal") and a zest for life that shines particularly in a loving portrait of his longtime companion, Tom Hatcher. --Wendy Smith
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