Archive for the ‘Stephen Sondheim’ Category
As 2012 yielded to 2013, more than a few noteworthy releases may have been lost in the shuffle. Some of the most impressive of those December releases came from Spain’s Quartet Records. The label closed out the year with three particularly spectacular titles that no film score buff will want to miss.
Two came from the prolific pen of Henry Mancini, perhaps the most-represented soundtrack composer in terms of 2012’s releases. Having previously issued the complete score to Curse of the Pink Panther (1982), the label turned its attention to 1978’s Revenge of the Pink Panther. The last Panther film to star Peter Sellers in his lifetime (the 1982 picture utilized outtakes of Sellers to create a new film), Revenge was previously on CD only in a severely truncated form emphasizing the funkier sounds in Mancini’s score. The new Revenge features a full 27 tracks, demonstrating the full breadth of the composer’s work and even including alternate takes from the original album issue. This deluxe package also includes a detailed essay and track-by-track notes from John Takis in its 16-page full-color booklet.
Perhaps even more noteworthy is Quartet’s reissue of Mancini’s original soundtrack to 1985’s Santa Claus: The Movie. Quartet’s predecessor label Singular Records had released (most of) the original soundtrack album on CD in 2009, but that release was considered lackluster despite the label having done its best with its resources at the time. The new edition is a completely different case, however: a 3-CD edition presenting the complete film score (34 tracks!), 17 alternates and bonuses, and the original, complete 13-track soundtrack LP, with many themes modified from the originals plus pop songs from Kaja and Sheena Easton. This new set presents the score in its entirety, remixed from ½″ 3-track stereo and 2″ 24-track session masters housed in mint condition in Abbey Road Studios, London. The 1985 LP has also been remastered from first generation master tapes stored at Abbey Road. Jeff Bond provides the annotation for the stellar 32-page booklet. Though many critics derided the epic Santa origin film as excessive, this release proves that Mancini’s score (also containing songs with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse) was just right.
After the jump: take a trip to the Forum, plus the full track listings and order links for all three titles! Read the rest of this entry »
Wow! Was it just over a year ago when a rather dubious report began circulating (that, shockingly, was picked up by many otherwise-reputable publications) that proclaimed the death of the CD was secretly scheduled by the major labels for 2012? Well, 2012 has come and (almost) gone, and it might have been the most super-sized year in recent memory for reissues, deluxe and otherwise, from labels new and old. Here at the Second Disc, we consider our annual Gold Bonus Disc Awards a companion piece to Mike’s own round-up over at Popdose, and we endeavor to recognize as many of the year’s most amazing reissues as possible – over 80 worthy, unique titles. We also hope to celebrate those labels, producers and artists who have raised the bar for great music throughout 2012. As we’re literally deluged with news around these parts, these ladies and gentlemen prove, week after week, the strength and health of the catalogue corner of the music world. We dedicate The Gold Bonus Disc Awards to them, and to you, the readers. After all, your interest is ultimately what keeps great music of the past alive and well.
With that in mind, don’t forget to share your own thoughts and comments below. What made your must-have list in 2012? Without further ado, let’s celebrate 2012′s best of the best. Welcome to the Gold Bonus Disc Awards!
Which releases take home the gold this year? Hit the jump below to find out! Read the rest of this entry »
Here at The Second Disc, the holiday season is the perfect time to do what we love to do best: share the gift of music. For the second year in a row, we have we reached out to some of our favorite reissue labels and we’ve teamed with them to play Santa Claus to our awesome and faithful readers. It’s called – what else? – Second Discmas, and it’s going on now through Christmas!
The fifth day of Second Discmas is a celebration of all things stage and screen! We’re offering two amazing gift sets from our friends at the Kritzerland label, a torch-bearer for film scores from Hollywood’s Golden Age as well as classic Broadway musicals.
The first prize pack features producer Bruce Kimmel’s entertaining new memoir Album Produced By…, joined by (what else?) two albums produced by Bruce Kimmel: the revelatory remix and remaster of Stephen Sondheim’s seminal Follies: The Original Broadway Cast Recording; and Bruce’s latest album and one sure to be a holiday staple, Sandy Bainum’s This Christmas!
For fans of the silver screen, Kritzerland has also created a prize pack with two rare and out-of-print selections from its catalogue plus one title celebrating a recently departed legend. The label’s latest sell-out, an Alfred Newman two-fer of Love is a Many-Splendored Thing and The Seven Year Itch, can no longer be purchased from Kritzerland, but it can be YOURS! Ditto for the amazing expansion of Henry Mancini’s ravishing and unique score to The Molly Maguires! Lastly, the late Marvin Hamlisch can be remembered with his captivating soundtrack to Romantic Comedy!
How can you make these prizes yours? Click on the graphic up top to head over to Contest Central for the complete rules! And there’s still more great free music coming your way, only at The Second Disc!
Curtain up! Tomorrow, Sony’s Masterworks Broadway division will release Broadway in a Box: The Essential Broadway Musicals Collection, a 25-disc collection formatted similarly to the “Complete Albums” box sets arriving from sister label Legacy Recordings. This impressive collection brings together the original cast recordings for 25 musicals recorded for Columbia Records, Arista Records and RCA Victor between 1949 (South Pacific) and 1987 (Into the Woods and a revival of Anything Goes).
Columbia Records’ commitment to the American musical began in 1946 when the label recorded the Broadway revival cast of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Show Boat; Columbia’s first cast recording of an original musical followed just one year later with Burton Lane and E.Y. “Yip” Harburg’s score to Finian’s Rainbow. Although it was rival Decca Records that is generally credited with inventing the modern cast recording format with 1943’s Oklahoma!, Columbia established supremacy in the area thanks to the unwavering support of label head Goddard Lieberson. Lieberson personally produced records of many of the most influential musicals of all time, from Finian’s through A Chorus Line in 1975. One of Columbia’s closest competitors was RCA Victor, with that label beginning its stellar run of cast albums also in 1947, with Brigadoon, High Button Shoes, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Allegro. When Columbia’s parent Sony merged with BMG in 2004, the deal unified arguably the two most important labels for Broadway theatre music. Sony BMG ceased to be an ongoing concern in 2008 when Sony bought BMG’s 50-percent stake in the company, forming today’s Sony Music Entertainment and retaining all of the music acquired from BMG.
As all of the cast recordings contained in Broadway in a Box are currently in print from Masterworks Broadway, the box may be best as an introductory sampler for young fans and collectors, or for those who might not have purchased these recordings on CD before. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein are the most represented composers/lyricists on the box, with five recordings: RCA Victor’s 1965 Carousel revival starring original Billy Bigelow John Raitt; RCA’s 1964 The King and I revival starring Darren McGavin and Risë Stevens; RCA’s 1979 Oklahoma! with Laurence Guittard and Christine Andreas; Columbia’s 1959 The Sound of Music starring Mary Martin; and Columbia’s 1949 South Pacific with Martin and Ezio Pinza. The words of lyricist Hammerstein appear a sixth time via RCA’s 1966 Show Boat revival, with Barbara Cook.
Stephen Sondheim isn’t far behind his mentor Hammerstein with five shows included, too. The reigning musical theatre master makes appearances via Columbia’s 1957 West Side Story (co-written with Leonard Bernstein, featuring Larry Kert, Carol Lawrence and Chita Rivera), 1959 Gypsy (co-written with Jule Styne, starring Ethel Merman and Jack Klugman), and 1970 Company (Dean Jones, Elaine Stritch), as well as RCA Victor’s 1979 Sweeney Todd (alas, the single-disc highlights version only, starring Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou) and 1987 Into the Woods (Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason).
After the jump: what else is in the set? Which stars will you hear? We have a full album listing and order link for you! Read the rest of this entry »
Though the former showgirls and stage-door Johnnies of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s Follies reunited in the 1971 musical for “one last look at where it all began,” it’s been rather difficult for those under the musical’s spell to take one last look (or listen, as it were) at the original production of Follies. Those who saw it routinely recall it as the grandest of all musicals; those who didn’t have had to make do with still photographs, grainy YouTube footage, talk show appearances, copious volumes of reviews and recollections, and of course, its Original Broadway Cast Recording. But, to steal from a previous Sondheim musical, we’ve always been sorry/grateful for Capitol’s Follies.
While it preserved a flawless cast led by Alexis Smith (Phyllis Rogers Stone), John McMartin (Ben Stone), Gene Nelson (Buddy Plummer) and Dorothy Collins (Sally Durant Plummer), the record produced by Dick Jones was severely truncated. Some songs were subject to internal cuts; others were excised entirely. It was also marred by a less-than-ideal mix. Vocals were hard-panned to the left or right, sounding altogether distant. Even the full orchestra playing Jonathan Tunick’s rich and wildly varied arrangements sounded, well, uneven. After 41 years, though, it’s as if a layer of gauze has been removed from Follies thanks to a limited edition reissue on the Kritzerland label (KR 20023-3). No further material was available to add to the new CD; the songs were, alas, shortened or edited prior to the recording sessions. But producer Bruce Kimmel, remix engineer John Adams and mastering engineer James Nelson have given new life to an old favorite, continuing the story of this most singular of musicals.
Follies has always been the ultimate tribute to, and deconstruction of, the Broadway musical. It’s a celebration as well as a eulogy, if you will. Its songs unfold the lives of these two couples, surrounded by old friends, who reunite on the eve of demolition of the Weismann Theatre. They discover that the site is populated not only by old friends, but by specters of the past. In one uninterrupted evening, fractured relationships are matched only by fractured reality, and the literal setting yields to a dreamscape both nightmarish and thrilling in which the characters’ many follies are explored.
From the very first notes of Sondheim’s overture/prologue (one of the musical sequences sadly edited down for the recording session), it was clear that the composer and his collaborators (including co-directors Harold Prince and Michael Bennett, also the choreographer) had something unusual in mind. Follies is a ghost story, and the Prologue’s opening drum roll doesn’t lead to a brassy medley of the score’s songs, but rather to the melody of “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” a fragile, macabre and slow waltz. It’s grand, all right, but far from triumphant. Although the ghosts that populated the stage of Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre (standing in for the fictional Weismann house) can’t be seen on an audio recording, they can certainly be felt. Audiences might have been expecting a parade of glamorous personalities and lavish costumes in a show entitled Follies, and indeed, that parade came. But when it did, it exposed the flaws, shortcomings and regrets of the principal players, and in turn, of the audience. The title is loaded with multiple meanings, and even the characters’ troubled marriages carry metaphorical heft. The many colors of the fantasia that is Follies all have never sounded better, or more shattering, than they do on this revitalized recording. The remarkable upgrade from all previous editions is audible in the nuance and newfound clarity of the orchestra, from the prologue onward.
There’s much more after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
Hey, Mr. Producer: A Second Disc Interview! Talking Remastered, Remixed Edition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies” with Bruce Kimmel
Hats off, here it comes: the Kritzerland label is unveiling a new edition of the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s Follies, but the Broadway babies and girls upstairs will likely have never sounded better. Following similar releases for Promises, Promises and Sugar, Kritzerland has completely remixed and remastered Capitol Records’ 1971 Follies, affording listeners the opportunity to hear a Sondheim masterwork anew. The label began accepting pre-orders last evening at midnight for the limited edition of 1,500, so those interested shouldn’t delay. It’s priced at $19.98 and scheduled to ship the last week in August, but those familiar with the label know that they can expect it even earlier.
Though The New York Times’ Clive Barnes initially dismissed Sondheim’s score as “the kind of the musical that should have its original cast album out on 78s,” it’s since been appreciated as one of the great composer/lyricist’s triumphs. Barnes failed to see that it was a musical unlike any other. In this phantasmagorical mélange, past met present, reality met illusion, and audiences were asked to confront their own follies via mirrors metaphorical and literal. Even the title was weighted with multiple meanings, never better reflected than in David Edward Byrd’s poster art, with the visage of a beautiful Follies girl, irrevocably shattered. Follies revolves around the reunion of the Weismann Girls (think the Ziegfeld Girls) at a theatre set for demolition. Almost immediately, secrets are revealed and relationships forever altered.
The production, co-directed by Harold Prince and choreographer Michael Bennett, both coming off Sondheim’s Company (1970), is still spoken of as one of the grandest spectacles in Broadway history, not just for Boris Aronson’s luscious set and Florence Klotz’s period-perfect costumes, but for the haunting performances of its four leads: Alexis Smith (Phyllis), Gene Nelson (Buddy), Dorothy Collins (Sally) and John McMartin (Ben) and a stellar supporting cast including Yvonne DeCarlo (Carlotta), Ethel Shutta (Hattie) and Mary McCarty (Stella). When producer Prince took Follies to Capitol Records, it was a shocking move, especially considering the remarkable recording of Company produced by Columbia’s Thomas Z. Shepard just one season earlier, and the longtime patronage of Sondheim by Columbia President Goddard Lieberson. Capitol sealed Follies’ fate when the label elected to record Sondheim’s sprawling and ambitious score (fusing classic Broadway pastiche with a contemporary sensibility) on one LP rather than the double-album it would have taken to preserve the entire score. Internal cuts were made to some songs, and cut others entirely, for the album produced by Dick Jones. One song, “One More Kiss,” was later reinstated on CD, but the other missing material simply wasn’t recorded in the first place.
As a result, the original cast recording of Follies has caused, in reissue producer Bruce Kimmel’s words, “a love/hate relationship for fans of the show…but what it did have made it something that, despite the frustrations, meant it would never be bettered – the original cast.” Thanks to Kritzerland’s new reissue, those new to Follies can hear that unassailable cast of veterans, while those who have savored the album in the past might be able to gain some new perspective on it. We were lucky enough to speak with Kimmel just hours before he made the announcement about his new Follies, and he was generous with insights and fascinating behind-the-scenes tidbits. Hit the jump for the full interview! Read the rest of this entry »
Bacharach, Sondheim, Lloyd Webber Honored by Melissa Manchester, Dave Koz, Stephen Bishop and More on New Kritzerland Releases
Kritzerland is reaching into the vaults of Los Angeles’ S.T.A.G.E. charitable organization for three star-filled releases celebrating composers who need no introduction: Burt Bacharach, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber. These live concert recordings feature renowned artists from the worlds of pop (Melissa Manchester, Stephen Bishop) and jazz (Dave Koz, Ann Hampton Callaway) plus stars from stage, screen and television (Tyne Daly, Felicity Huffman, Len Cariou, Charlotte Rae, Donna McKechnie) and even some rather unexpected performers (Rip Taylor, Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry), all tackling selections from these deep songbooks. The Lloyd Webber and Sondheim tributes are both 2-CD sets, while the Bacharach is a single disc. A portion of the proceeds from all three albums will be allocated to AIDS Project L.A. and other AIDS organizations.
These releases mark a return to S.T.A.G.E., or Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event, territory for producer Bruce Kimmel. On the Kritzerland label he’s issued Strouse/Schwartz/Schwartz (that’s Charles, Arthur and Stephen!) and prior to that, Kimmel produced numerous concert releases on Varese Sarabande. As for S.T.A.G.E. itself, the company’s first such benefit took place in October 1984, honoring the music of Leonard Bernstein. Subsequent presentations have paid tribute to composers and lyricists from the musical stage including: Stephen Sondheim (1985, 1987, 1996, 2007), Jule Styne (1988), Jerry Herman (1989), John Kander and Fred Ebb (1990), Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein (1991), Irving Berlin (1992), George and Ira Gershwin (1993, 2009), Harold Arlen (1995), Cole Porter (1997), Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe and Burton Lane (1998), Richard Adler, Jerry Bock and Cy Coleman (1999), Charles Strouse, Arthur Schwartz and Stephen Schwartz (2000), Jerome Kern (2001), Johnny Mercer (2002), Frank Loesser (2003), Andrew Lloyd Webber (2004), Marvin Hamlisch and Harry Warren (2005), and Betty Comden and Adolph Green (2006).
The albums are scheduled to ship the fourth week in May, but pre-orders will likely be mailed several weeks earlier as per Kritzerland’s custom. Hit the jump for a look at each of this trio of recordings, including full track listings and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »
Some of The Great White Way’s brightest stars will be on the receiving end of the latest reissue bonanza from Sony’s Masterworks Broadway label. Leading the pack is the 1985 Original Cast Recording of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies in Concert. Lee Remick, Barbara Cook, Mandy Patinkin and George Hearn star in the 1985 recording of Sondheim’s 1971 musical currently enjoying a critically-acclaimed, hit revival on Broadway. Follies in Concert will arrive at general retail on CD in a new eco-friendly digipak format, while the long out-of-print soundtrack to Jerry Herman’s 1996 television film Mrs. Santa Claus will make its digital debut. Sondheim and Herman favorite leading lady Angela Lansbury starred as Mrs. Santa Claus and can be heard on disc singing an all-new score by the classic songsmith behind Hello, Dolly! and of course, Lansbury’s triumph Mame. These two releases are joined by two more vintage recordings making their debuts as CD-Rs and digital downloads: the 1951 Studio Cast of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s Babes in Arms starring Mary Martin and Jack Cassidy, and the 1953 Studio Casts of Blackbirds of 1928 and Shuffle Along. All releases will be accompanied by new album pages and photos on MasterworksBroadway.com.
Babes in Arms made its Broadway debut in 1937 in the days before original cast recordings became commonplace. The Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical may be best-known for a dramatically altered 1939 MGM film adaptation starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. Producer Goddard Lieberson and musical director Lehman Engel enlisted one of Broadway’s reigning stars, Mary Martin (who had recently scored a success in a later Rodgers musical, South Pacific) to star in their recording of the show, one in a line of successful studio recreations of vintage musicals. The Columbia Records album, also starring Jack Cassidy and Mardi Baynee, spotlights the incredible standards that originated in the musical: “Where or When,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” “Johnny One-Note,” and of course, “My Funny Valentine.” Even today, it’s hard to believe that such a group of standards premiered in one musical! The October 24 release, the first authorized since the LP era using the original mono master, will be available as a digital download and as disc-on-demand, with the original cover art, via both Arkivmusic.com and Amazon.com.
When Stephen Sondheim’s Follies arrived at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre in 1971, the musical wasn’t universally recognized as the masterwork it’s now so righftully hailed to be. The unfortunate decision to entrust the cast album to Capitol Records resulted in a heavily truncated single-LP recording which didn’t give Stephen Sondheim’s rich, haunting and varied score its due. Yet it remained the only commercial recording of the score for years. (The New York Times’ Clive Barnes famously dismissed the score including now-standards like “Losing My Mind” and “Could I Leave You?” as “the kind of musical that should have its original cast recording out on 78s.”) When Follies in Concert was staged at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall on September 6 and 7, 1985 and recorded by RCA Records and producer Thomas Z. Shepard, the show’s majesty and significance came into view. Those who attended still speak of those evenings today, more than twenty-five years later. Follies in Concert presents Sondheim’s score in full, as electrifyingly performed by Lee Remick, Barbara Cook, Mandy Patinkin and George Hearn, plus Carol Burnett (“I’m Still Here”), Elaine Stritch (“Broadway Baby”), Liliane Montevecchi (“Ah, Paris!”), Phyllis Newman (“Who’s That Woman”), and the legendary team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green (“Rain on the Roof”). As on the original CD release, this straight reissue of the 2-CD set also includes Stephen Sondheim’s orchestral score to the 1974 Alain Resnais film Stavisky. Follies in Concert arrives on October 24.
Hit the jump for more on Shuffle Along/Blackbirds of 1928 and just in time for the holidays, Mrs. Santa Claus! Read the rest of this entry »
The late Arthur Laurents wrote many of the most beloved musicals and films in entertainment history including West Side Story, Gypsy, The Way We Were and Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope. He passed away on May 5, but today’s special Back Tracks celebrates this great writer’s legacy in music.
“If you have a good strong finish, they’ll forgive anything!”
So implores stage mother Madame Rose to her daughter Louise, the future Gypsy Rose Lee, in the 1959 musical Gypsy. Rose’s bon mot was one of many priceless lines written by Arthur Laurents, and unsurprisingly, an incredibly true one. Laurents, who died on May 5 at the age of 93, certainly had a good strong finish, directing the smash 2008 Broadway revival of Gypsy and following it in 2009 with an equally-successful production of his 1957 musical West Side Story. But Arthur Laurents had amazing first and second acts, too, making his mark in the worlds of film, literature and most especially theatre.
Arthur was a true American original. He wrote the timeless screenplay to The Way We Were, and was among the first to discover its star, Barbra Streisand. He penned Rope for director Alfred Hitchcock, and was an Academy Award nominee for The Turning Point. Laurents was a passionate advocate of the truth, and stood up to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) at the height of the blacklist. He directed and guided the original Broadway production of La Cage Aux Folles, recently revived to much success in New York. His greatest legacies may be the books for two of the most significant musicals ever written: West Side Story, on which he collaborated with Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, and Gypsy, with Sondheim and Jule Styne. A librettist of a Broadway musical may have the most thankless task of any member of the creative team; his job is to create the words that will inspire a song to take flight – and in most cases, replace that original dialogue. And Arthur was second to none in creating the characters and situations that allowed Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein and others’ melodies to soar.
Today’s special edition of Back Tracks looks at the musical world of Arthur Laurents through the original soundtracks and cast recordings of his the films and musicals he wrote. (He also had success as a director; in addition to La Cage aux Folles, he was the original helmer of I Can Get It For You Wholesale, which introduced Barbra Streisand to the world in 1962.) We’ll explore all of the many reissues of these timeless titles and let you know just where to find bonus tracks and additional material. You can hit the jump below if you’d like to skip to that portion of our post, but in a break from tradition here at The Second Disc, I hope many of you will indulge me in a personal reminiscence about this most remarkable man and writer who was so mightily influential to me and many others.
Having grown up with many of the works mentioned above, your humble author found himself quite intimidated when first introduced to Arthur in the fall of 1999. The occasion was the first day of rehearsals for the world premiere of Laurents’ revised version of Do I Hear a Waltz? Arthur collaborated with Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim on this 1965 musical based on his own play The Time of the Cuckoo (which in turn was adapted into David Lean’s film Summertime, starring Katharine Hepburn). The original production was an unhappy experience for many of its creators, but Arthur was in high spirits when we began rehearsals that crisp fall morning at George Street Playhouse under the direction of David Saint. I was assisting David, for the first but not the last time, and any nerves quickly evaporated that very day. Arthur was passionately dedicated to making this musical sing anew, sharply focusing his own text and always at the ready with a new line or bit of staging that would just make a scene click. It was simply a joy getting new pages to type for the cast! He charismatically and generously imparted the experience gained over 50 years in the theatre to all in attendance. Even when I must have seemed like the green kid asking another question about what it was like to work with Richard Rodgers or Alfred Hitchcock, I was never turned away. Arthur was fiendishly clever and unfailingly honest, with the best theatrical instinct I’ve ever encountered. I considered Arthur a teacher; David was among those he mentored, and David, in turn, remains a treasured mentor of mine. Like his frequent collaborator David, Arthur always led by example. Our company was proud to be working with him on this important reclamation of a lost musical.
I was lucky enough to work with him again in the ensuing years, including on a new play, the cheekily-titled and decidedly contemporary The Vibrator, and to see him with semi-regularity at opening nights and other occasions. I remember Arthur engaging audience members in the George Street lobby, greeting complete strangers like old friends. He was far from shy, and his candor is legendary. I can hear his hearty congratulations on each opening and also his incisive, sharp criticism when something wasn’t right. Yet most of all I think of the joy he took in collaboration, the big hugs and bigger smiles, and his refusal to ever remain stagnant. Energetic beyond his years, he was writing up until the very end of his life, and constantly inspiring with sheer tenacity and limitless vivacity. He continually looked with new, critical eyes at projects acclaimed long ago, never content to rest on his well-earned laurels. I learned from Arthur the importance of considering those people and those works which came before me, while still looking forward. Arthur made good on his beliefs. He established The Laurents-Hatcher Award, a $150,000.00 prize distributed annually to deserving young playwrights and named for Arthur and his late partner of 52 years, Tom Hatcher.
Arthur’s work and reputation will live on, thanks to the innumerable theatres who will continue to celebrate his life and art, and especially his beloved George Street Playhouse. Each day, somewhere in the world, there will be a pushy lady making her way down the aisle with a dog and a hatpin admonishing “Sing out, Louise!” or a Maria holding her beloved Tony in her arms, praying the violence will stop. But much like his characters, Arthur Laurents was larger than life. I’ll always be grateful and privileged to have known this great man over the past twelve years, and will long cherish those misty watercolor memories of the way he was.