Arthur Laurents Interview in OUT

OUT Magazine has published an interview with Arthur Laurents. Entitled “Arthur Laurents Will Not Go Quietly”, the article deals somewhat with personal life and his relationship with Tom Hatcher, but also allows him to offer his trademark frank assessments of a few musical theatre matters.

Here are just a few snippets from the three page article, which can be read at the OUT website.

On his decision to change the Spanish lyrics in the revival of West Side Story back to English:

It’s hard to be tactful…. I’ll say this: I realized that we had to put in more English for the audience.

On the forthcoming Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles:

It’s in vogue now, this so-called darker side of everything, which I think is just muddy. And cheap. Literally, in both meanings of the word. I saw it in London. I thought the production was homophobic…. There’s a line in it about Albin, [the main attraction at the nightclub]. The boy says, “How can I introduce him to my fiancé’s parents the way he dresses?” Well, in London he wore a dress and a wig in private life. In New York, he wore a suit with piping. It was effeminate, but this was out and out camp. I didn’t see Douglas Hodge, who is a very good actor. But I saw him on YouTube, and he can’t sing. And he wore a dress like it belonged to a maiden aunt.

On Julie Taymor’s Spider-Man:

I wouldn’t go to see Spider-Man.

On the much anticipated Encores! production of Anyone Can Whistle:

They’re doing some cockamamie version of it. I’m just rehearsing how I can say, “No comment.”

On his favourite Rose from Gypsy:

Patti. I shouldn’t have said I like Patti best because they’ll get pissed off. But I do.

On possible future projects:

They want to do Gypsy in London. They only want Patti and me…. She wants to. And if I did, it would be for her. I can say I’m going to live forever. But if I do Gypsy again, it might cut that short.

On Disney’s idea for an animated West Side Story:

Disney wanted to do an animated version — with cats! They sent a DVD. The black cats and the white cats. It was pure camp. They showed the Maria cat coming down the rope of an ocean liner. She was an illegal immigrant.

On a new film version of West Side Story:

I still would like another movie – because I thought the other one was so bad. And, frankly, anti–Puerto Rican. The Sharks wore makeup and had this phony accent and DayGlo costumes. But who would direct it?

A few comments of my own:

  1. I still think the idea of using the Spanish lyrics in West Side Story has merit. But removing the surtitles was a mistake and perhaps it is a technique that would work better in a new film version, where subtitles are easier to incorporate into the mise-en-scéne.
  2. I don’t quite follow the argument about the revival of La Cage aux Folles being homophobic, but then the show has never really rocked my world and I’m not sure I care that much about it.
  3. No matter what Laurents says, Patti LuPone was no Angela Lansbury as Rose. LuPone may be the Laurents favourite, but I don’t think she’s been the best.
  4. The Disney idea for an animated West Side Story is completely bizarre.

Nonetheless, it’s an interesting interview and I’d urge others to read the entire article. Scroll up and click on the link now! And, as always, feel free to leave your own comments below.

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2 Responses to Arthur Laurents Interview in OUT

  1. Josh Smith says:

    YES. Thank you for this David.

  2. Timothy Whittemore says:

    This was awesome. Met him in NYC. His autograph is hanging on my wall!

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