The gossip maven now reports that following that announcement she received a call from Arthur Laurents, the award-winning playwright who wrote the book for the classic musical. Laurents told Smith that Weinstein "doesn't have the rights" to Gypsy. Laurents is known for keeping a close eye on his properties, and without his consent there would be no "Gypsy" remake. Laurents, the librettist for West Side Story; Hallelujah, Baby!; Anyone Can Whistle; and Gypsy, began writing for the theatre more than 50 years ago with the play Home of the Brave. Among his other works are The Time of the Cuckoo, Jolson Sings Again and 2 Lives. Laurents received a Best Director Tony Award for the original production of La Cage aux Folles. His candid autobiography, published a few years back, is titled "Original Story By."
Gypsy features a score by Jule Styne (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) and a book by Laurents. The musical — with Ethel Merman as Rose — bowed on Broadway in May 1959 at the Broadway Theatre, playing 702 performances before closing at the Imperial Theatre, where it later transferred, on March 25, 1961. Subsequent revivals have featured Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly and Bernadette Peters as Rose. The 1962 film cast Rosalind Russell as Rose with Natalie Wood as Gypsy Rose Lee; a 1993 TV version boasted Bette Midler in the lead role.