Wednesday, September 7, 2011

West Side Story: America

Here is a scene from West Side Story, a 1961 film musical starring Natalie Wood, George Chakiris and Richard Beymer.  The script was by Arthur Laurents and the choreography by Jerome Robbins. Music is by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. (You can find an excellent review here.)

The film is based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and set in New York City in the late 1950s. This scene stars Bernardo (George Chakiris) and Anita (Rita Moreno) discussing (or playfully arguing some would say) on the merits of America and its values and way of living. The movie is a plea for racial tolerance in particular and tolerance in general.

Note: Puerto Rico, as an unincorporated territory, has been under U.S. sovereignty for over a century, since 1898; and Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917. It has had a governor since 1947, but Puerto Ricans cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections, and thus has no representation in Congress. There have been continuing discussions on it becoming the 51st state.

West Side Story: Original Poster, 1961
Source: Wikipedia