The Works of Arthur Laurents: Politics, Love, and Betrayal

by John M. Clum


“This is the first substantial study of the work of Arthur Laurents, and it was worth waiting for. In this authoritative and engaging book, John Clum draws on an unparalleled fund of knowledge about the musical theatre and the history of LGBT theatre in America to chronicle Laurents’s importance as a gay playwright writing about gay issues during the twentieth century. He elegantly demonstrates the ways in which Laurents’s writings parallel the momentous changes in the social, cultural, and political status of LGBT people during the period of his long life, from 1917 to 2011. An important subtext is Laurents’s living out his belief that the personal is political in his life and work. Clum shows this vividly in Laurents’s enduring interest in particular political issues such as McCarthyism, its attendant blacklisting and informing, and the issues surrounding gay rights as they inform his writing about the interconnections between politics and human relationships and actions. This book is bound to stimulate a new awareness of the significance of Laurents’s work for the study of twentieth-century American culture.” — Brenda Murphy, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Connecticut

“This much-needed study of the life and career of playwright-librettist-director Arthur Laurents examines not only his achievements in musicals, including such beloved classics as Gypsy and La Cage aux Folles, but also in his lesser-known but impressively diverse dramatic works. One of the last ‘hyphenates’ of the American theatre, Laurents engendered the admiration of the leading theatrical lights of the second half of the twentieth century. This well-researched book reveals Laurents and will fascinate those for whom Broadway musicals and dramas reached a peak when Laurents was at work.” — James Fisher, Professor of Theatre, University of North Carolina at Greensboro


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