Will Arthur Laurents Direct Broadway West Side Story Revival?

News   Will Arthur Laurents Direct Broadway West Side Story Revival? Arthur Laurents, who wrote the book to West Side Story, may direct an upcoming Broadway revival of that classic musical.

The New York Post reports that Laurents — who directed the current, acclaimed revival of Gypsy starring Patti LuPone — will direct a production of West Side Story that is scheduled to open on Broadway in 2008.

Laurents told the New York daily, "There was a revival in the 1970s that was no good. It was too white-bread. I've come up with a way of doing it that will make it absolutely contemporary without changing a word or a note. And what will annoy you is that I'm not going to tell you what it is."

West Side Story features a score by Leonard Bernstein (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) and a book by Arthur Laurents. The musical debuted on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre in September 1957. It played 732 performances before closing June 27, 1959. Conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, the original cast included Larry Kert as Tony, Carol Lawrence as Maria and Chita Rivera as Anita. The classic Bernstein-Sondheim score boasts such tunes as "Tonight," "America," "Maria," "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere."

Subsequent revivals were presented at the Winter Garden Theatre (1960), City Center (1964) and the Minskoff Theatre (1980). The latter featured Josie de Guzman as Maria, Debbie Allen as Anita and Ken Marshall as Tony.

Arthur 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. He also directed the Angela Lansbury and Tyne Daly revivals of Gypsy as well as Invitation to a March, I Can Get it for You Wholesale and Anyone Can Whistle. Laurents' candid autobiography, published a few years back, is titled "Original Story By."

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