In short: Arthur Laurents recently said that he’d been talking with Barbra Streisand about a big screen do-over of Gypsy, the classic show for which he wrote the book. And now… he says that it isn’t going to happen at all.
But why? Here’s the man himself, as he put it to Frank Rizzo:
[Stephen] Sondheim told me something that he got from the British – and it’s wonderful. He said, ‘You want a record because the theater is ephemeral. But that’s wrong. The theater’s greatest essence is that it is ephemeral. You don’t need a record. The fact that it’s ephemeral means you can have different productions, different Roses on into infinity. So I don’t want it now. I don’t want a definitive record. I want it to stay alive.
Tough cheese for The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper, then, who Laurents says “wanted to direct” the film, adding “I think he’s wonderful.”
And so do I. And I think Gypsy is wonderful too, and Laurents, and Streisand, and Sondheim – though his argument doesn’t quite add up to me. Even with a film record of the show, and no matter how wonderful any film is, it wouldn’t be the last word.