The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Arthur Laurents' The Time of the Cuckoo with three special evenings at the Bruno Walter Auditorium in October.
On Oct. 17 at 6:30 PM the Library will present "An Evening with Arthur Laurents." The award-winning playwright-director will speak about the various productions of The Time of the Cuckoo as well as his many other theatrical successes. At 6 PM on Oct. 21 a special reading of Cuckoo will be mounted; casting is expected shortly. The final offering — Oct. 24 at 3 and 6 PM — will feature a screening of "Summertime," the 1955 film version of the play. Directed by David Lean, the film cast Katharine Hepburn in the lead role.
Cuckoo marked a big hit for playwright Laurents, who would later write the books for such landmark musicals as Gypsy, West Side Story and La Cage aux Folles. The original Broadway cast of Cuckoo featured Shirley Booth, Geraldine Brooks, Dino DiLuca, Silva Gaselli, Donald Murphy, Jose Perez, Daniel Reed, Ruggero Romor, Jane Rose and Lydia St. Clair. Directed by Harold Clurman, the play opened at the Empire Theatre on Oct. 15, 1952, and ran 263 performances, closing May 30, 1953. Debra Monk starred in a production of Cuckoo in February 2000 at Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse Theater.
In addition to his book-writing credits, Laurents has directed such musicals as Nick & Nora, I Can Get It For You Wholesale and La Cage aux Folles, earning a Tony Award for his direction of the latter. His screenwriting credits boast "The Turning Point," "Rope" and "The Way We Were," and his most recent plays include Jolson Sings Again, Venecia and Claudio Lazlo.
The Bruno Walter Auditorium is located in New York City at 111 Amsterdam Avenue (south of 65th Street). Admission is free, although tickets are required for some of the programs. For more information, call (212) 642 0142.