The Hartford Courant reports that the musical's librettist, Arthur Laurents, who had reportedly consented to Streisand's starring in the project after a series of conversations with the singing actress, has now decided against filming Gypsy.
Laurents told the Courant that he came to the decision after speaking with the musical's lyricist, Stephen Sondheim. (Jule Styne was the show's composer). As Laurents relayed the conversation, "[Sondheim] said, 'What is the point of it?' And I said, 'They have this terrible [1962 film] version with Rosalind Russell wearing those black and white shoes.' And then Sondheim told me something that he got from the British — and it's wonderful. He said, 'You want a record because the theatre is ephemeral. But that's wrong. The theatre's greatest essence is that it is ephemeral. You don't need a record. The fact that it's ephemeral means you can have different productions, different Roses on into infinity.' So I don't want it now. I don't want a definitive record. I want it to stay alive."
The 93-year-old theatre legend remained complimentary toward Streisand, saying, "She could have done it," and that doing the film "would have been a good exit for her career."
"I think [Streisand] is disappointed," Laurents also said. "She wanted very much to do it. … Tom Hooper [the Oscar-winning director of "The King's Speech"] wanted to direct it. I think he's wonderful."
Laurents' credits also include the books for the musicals West Side Story, Anyone Can Whistle, Do I Hear a Waltz? and Hallelujah, Baby!; the plays Home of the Brave, The Time of the Cuckoo, A Clearing in the Woods and Invitation to a March; and screenplays including "The Snake Pit," "Rope," "Anastasia," "The Way We Were" and "The Turning Point." He directed the original productions of La Cage Aux Folles (Tony Award), Anyone Can Whistle and I Can Get It For You Wholesale, as well as the recent Broadway revival of West Side Story and three Broadway revivals of Gypsy. Streisand made her Broadway debut in I Can Get It For You Wholesale and confirmed her stardom with Funny Girl, receiving Tony nominations for both performances and an Oscar for the film version of Funny Girl. Her film credits include "Hello, Dolly!," "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," "The Owl and the Pussycat," "What's Up, Doc?," "The Way We Were," "Funny Lady," "A Star Is Born," "Yentl," "Nuts," "The Prince of Tides," "The Mirror Has Two Faces," "Meet the Fockers" and "Little Fockers." She holds an additional Oscar for co-writing the song "Evergreen" from "A Star Is Born," a special Tony Award received in 1970, and several Grammy and Emmy Awards for her albums and television specials.
Gypsy premiered on Broadway in 1959, with Ethel Merman starring as Rose. Subsequent revivals have featured Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters and Patti LuPone in the role, which is perhaps considered the ultimate role for an actress in musical theatre. In addition to the 1962 film version with Rosalind Russell, a television remake was produced in 1993, starring Bette Midler.