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Arthur Was Finally Noticed

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Charles Isherwood recently wrote a brilliant piece on the late Arthur Laurents in the New York Times, entitledScrappy Papa of the Ultimate Stage Momma.

I want to congratulate him for his piece on Arthur Laurents.

I want to thank him for him for his piece on Arthur Laurents.

If I wrote no further, Arthur would still have found what I just wrote in the initial 2 sentences as "overwriting" and would have "edited!"

Several years ago, I went to see a production of Home of the Brave. Within minutes, the tension, dynamics and the beginning of being transported from your seat to the stage had taken place. I don't know if this is craft, if this is art, if this is a combination or if this is "you either got it or you ain't." Some of us close to Arthur believe he wrote himself into characters on the stage and one of the people closest to him believes that Arthur and Rose were one.

Arthur confirmed to me that in the film THe Way We Were, the character portrayed by Barbra Streisand was portraying Arthur as he was or as he perceived himself when he attended Cornell.

The article also identifies the subject of book writing and does so from both a technical and personally painful point of view. Mr. Isherwood spotted some of his greatest lines, and there are some of us who knew Arthur who believed that the notoriously "pugnacious" Arthur (who was confrontational, contentious and many other things) was essentially bitter... part of (and ironically as a result of) what he was best at, viz.: being a book writer who (by definition in a collaborative work, a film or a musical) is the least visible player - but without which there is no play. Maybe Arthur's heated and sometimes vitriolic outbursts meant that "he just wanted to be noticed."

Arthur once told me that until he experienced a standing ovation just for walking out on a stage at the City Center before the first dress run-through of Gypsy with Ms. LuPone only a few years ago (when he had already lived through eight decades), he had never felt recognition... Up until that point, he may have received it, but that's not the same as feeling it.

If Arthur and Rose had a shared desire to be noticed... a very big special thank you,-, Mr. Isherwood, for "noticing" in the nicest, most intelligent and thoughtful fashion, my friend, Arthur Laurents.