Cain novel Serenade, about an opera singer who comes to the realization he is homosexual, and he invited Laurents to write the book.
Robbins felt if the three were going to join forces, they should return to East Side Story, and Bernstein agreed.
Laurents, however, was committed to Gabel, who introduced him to the young composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim.
Eager to write his first musical, Laurents immediately agreed.
Bernstein wanted to present the material in operatic form, but Robbins and Laurents resisted the suggestion.
When he opted to drop out, the three men went their separate ways, and the piece was shelved for almost five years.
In 1955, theatrical producer Martin Gabel was working on a stage adaptation of the James M.
When the producer of The Painted Veil replaced Gardner with Eleanor Parker and asked Laurents to revise his script with her in mind, he backed out of the film, freeing him to devote all his time to the stage musical.
In New York City, Laurents went to the opening night party for a new play by Ugo Betti, and there he met Sondheim, who had heard that East Side Story, now retitled West Side Story, was back on track.
The two contacted Robbins, who was enthusiastic about a musical with a Latin beat.