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Arthur Laurents Says That Barbra Streisand GYPSY Film is OFF

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Arthur Laurents Says That Barbra Streisand GYPSY Film is OFFBack in February, Barbra Streisand confirmed to the LA Times that she would indeed star in a new film version of GYPSY. The news leaked "a little early, because the deal wasn't finished," Streisand said. "I am not sure about directing it. It may just be too much. I know I will be playing the part. It's like a bookend starting with 'Funny Girl.'"

Now, Arthur Laurents tells the Hartford Courant that the film is dead. As per the paper: "But now Laurents says the film version is not going to happen "for a really fascinating reason, much bigger than 'Gypsy.' "

He recently spoke with the musical's lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, who asked Laurents why he wanted to allow the film project to happen. "He said, 'What is the point of it?' And I said, 'They have this terrible version with Rosalind Russell wearing those black and white shoes.' And then 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.

"I think [Streisand] is disappointed. She wanted very much to do it. That would have been a good exit for her career. Tom Hopper ["The King's Speech"] wanted to direct it. I think he's wonderful."

How would she have been in the film?

"She could have done it," he says"

Laurents, who directed Streisand in her first Broadway show, I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE, and who wrote THE WAY WE WERE for her had previously said that he's has long talks with her on the subject, and that "She had a mother who she always thought was Mama Rose. I don't want to get into the details, but the point is she knows. She's got it in her. She's going to be much more than people expect."

This would be the third film of GYPSY having first been made in 1962 (starring Rosalind Russell) and then again in 1993 for television (starring Bette Midler).

Streisand has appeared on Broadway in I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE and FUNNY GIRL. She has also received a special Tony Award. Her film work includes FUNNY GIRL, FUNNY LADY, YENTL, and NUTS.  She has won numerous awards including the Oscar, Grammy, and Emmy awards.

Barbra's 63rd album, "Love Is The Answer" has been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), just months after debuting at #1 on the Billboard Charts. This brings the number of gold albums awarded to Barbra to 51. Additionally, Barbra is the recipient of 30 platinum albums and 13 multi-platinum albums.

GYPSY was last seen in a production that was first presented by Encores! from July 9 to 29, 2007 with Patti LuPone playing Rose, and direction by Arthur Laurents. Principal casting included Laura Benanti in the title role of "Gypsy/Louise", with Boyd Gaines as "Herbie", and Leigh Ann Larkin as "Dainty June."

Arthur Laurents directed his famed production for Encores!, which is based on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous striptease artist, and her mother, Rose, whose name has become synonymous with "the ultimate show business mother." It follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise two daughters to perform onstage and casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show business life. The character of Louise is based on Lee, and the character of June is based on Lee's sister, the actress June Havoc.

The Encores! production was so successful it moved to Broadway at the ST. James Theatre, opening in March 2008, with Patti LuPoneBoyd GainesLaura Benanti, and Leigh Ann Larkin reprising their roles. Arthur Laurentsagain directed and Bonnie Walker reproduced the original choreography by Jerome Robbins. The production closed on January 11, 2009 after 332 performances and 27 previews. The production won three Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards, in each case for the performances by LuPone, Gaines and Benanti. It was also nominated for Best Revival of a Musical, and Best Direction. The show was originally intended to close in March 2009 on Lupone's final performance, but closed in January due to decreases in ticket sales. 

Photos by Walter McBride / WM Photos / Corbis

 

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