"America" is a song from the musical West Side Story, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The story is based on Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, but is set in New York in the 1950s with themes of racial gang warfare. The musical was groundbreaking because of its sophisticated musical style and pioneering dance sequences. The music has elements of opera, musical, jazz and Latin-American dance influences. "America" is one of the most well-known songs from the show, and is a debate between Anita - the leader of Shark gang (Bernardo's) girlfriend and Rosalia - another Shark girl. I have chosen to analyse the musical version of "America" and not the film version. The difference is that Jerome Robbins (director of the West Side Story 1961 film) chose to include the Shark men in the song. I believe this was to highlight the concealed racism in American society, especially towards immigrants such as the Puerto Ricans because the men are shown as upholders of traditional culture and the women as eager to cast aside the old ways. This is arguably the main theme of the musical, and the most important as it highlights the political, social and cultural struggle of the immigrants in America. However in the original musical, it is sung between Anita and Rosalia. The reason I have chosen to analyse this is because only the film version has the rights to use the Shark men, and every stage rights available can only use the girls. So as this was originally intended by Bernstein and Robbins, and is the more commonly used, I have chosen to analyse the musical version. The purpose of "America" is to provide an opportunity for a dance number, as this musical is largely dance based and up until now we've only had ballads (M... ... middle of paper ... ... sections to show excitement and enthusiasm, for example on the syllables "mer-i" of "America". Bernstein uses sudden dynamics within every section including the final dance break. Pianissimo is used in the woodwind at the beginning of D2, and a huge tutti crescendo brings us into the final repeat of the main tune with the key change to E major. In conclusion, to analyse this essay I have scrutinized the melody, harmony and rhythm as these are elements that make this piece so popular. Included with the dynamics, articulation and use of texture, they all successfully work with each other to create a effective piece. The style and the social and cultural contexts are incredibly important to appreciating this piece and I feel I have examined the musical elements in a way that is essential to understanding the song, and its place in West Side Story.
The story of the American West is still being told today even though most of historic events of the Wild West happened over more than a century ago. In movies, novels, television, and more ways stories of the old west are still being retold, reenacted, and replayed to relive the events of the once so wild and untamed land of the west that so many now fantasize about. After reading about the old west and watching early westerns it is amazing how much Hollywood still glorifies the history and myth of the old west. It may not be directly obvious to every one, but if you look closely there is always a hint of the Western mentality such as honor, justice, romance, drama, and violence. The most interesting thing about the Old West is the fact that history and myth have a very close relationship together in telling the story of the West.
West Side Story is the story of two lovers from rival gangs who cannot be together. This musical was heavily inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The music was a combination of jazz, pop, and classical which was influenced by Aaron Copland, which was Leonard Bernstein's friend. This
The musical West Side Story is based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This musical was possible due to the efforts of four people, Leonard Bernstein, the composer, Jerome Robbins, the director and choreographer, Arthur Laurents, the playwright, and Stephen Sondheim, the lyricist. After Rodgers and Hammerstein II’s Oklahoma! , West Side Story is considered as the most significant musical.
The Glass Menagerie is a play written by Tennessee Williams. It involves a mother, Amanda, and her two children, Tom and Laura. They are faced with many problems throughout the play. Some of these problems involve: Amanda, the mother, only wants to see her kids succeed and do well for themselves. How does her drive for success lead the book?
In this musical, it uses several types of narratives, for example, after the fight between the Jets and Puerto Ricans, after the police leave, they enter the ally and the girl is begging to join the gang saying how much she wants to fight is a part of narrative sexuality (B 34). The girl is more of a tom boy who wants to be like one of the guys.
The West Side Story portrays the lives of two different gangs living in America, as well as their beliefs and examples of living a good life. The expectations of what people consider the good life to be may vary on a person’s morals and their dreams of what life is truly about. In this movie, whether or not these characters were good people, lived a good life, or lived in a good society is a very controversial topic.
Chicago When I first watched Chicago at the movie theater, I was not fully satisfied. I wanted more, so I went back to get some and watched it six more times with different friends and family members! Last summer during a visit to my native Mexico City, I had the opportunity to watch drag queens perform several numbers from the movie musical. They did an amazing job, without surpassing the outstanding performances of the actors in the film. Last year, I visited NYC for the first time and indulged in the rows of the Ambassador Theatre.
One of the claims explored throughout the chapter, and throughout the rest of the book, is the diversion from the classical hollywood musical conventions. The author points out traditional conventions, such as the use of musical song and dance to “bring compromise, relief, or the dissolution of tensions” and how the “conflicts that separate Maria and Tony… are real” and differ from other conflicts in musicals (Acevedo-Munoz, 90). Likewise, the author points out the convention of heterosexual coupling and how, traditionally, the need for this coupling, accompanied with the personality dissolve, allows the ‘problems’ to be resolved (Acevedo-Munoz, 90). However, the author claims that this heterosexual coupling and personality dissolve, as seen in the merging of gang colors worn by Maria and Tony, are not enough to solve the conflict (Acevedo-Munoz, 106). By pointing out the conventions of classical hollywood musicals, the author is able to demonstrate how they are broken in West Side Story through detailed scene-by-scene analysis. The structure of the third paragraph provides merit to other claims as well such as the impact of the “color, editing, cinematography, special effects, and even costume design” (Acevedo-Munoz 128). In the analysis of each scene, the author accounts for how such traits impact the narrative structure of the film, and how they affect the audience as well. For example, the author depicts the lighting and special effects utilized during the sequence in which Tony and Maria first meet at the dance. Here the “oil effect”, lighting effect and “‘not quite real’ representation of an otherwise realistic set” are described and
Musical theatre is a type of theatrical performance combining music, dance, acting and spoken dialogue. Written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, ‘West Side Story’ is a classic American musical based on William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The through-composed score and lyrics are used to portray different characters and their cultures, the rivalry between the Jets and Sharks, and the emotions felt as the story progresses. This essay will be exploring the music and how effective the score is in realising the world and characters of the musical. Furthermore, it will discuss how Bernstein and Sondheim relate characters’ diverse ethnicities to particular musical ideas and motifs.
words so that the sound of the play complements its expression of emotions and ideas. This essay
West Side Story 1. What is the difference between a. and a. Point out how the general setting of the play is established. Give at least two examples. The play West Side Story takes place in a suburb on the West Side of New York City. We can conclude that we are talking about a socially disadvantaged suburb as the surrounding area is described with high brick walls, not very attractive and by the presence of the two gangs.
Love is a beautiful thing, it always works out in the end. Everyone is always happy and no problems occur. West Side Story, a musical by Leonard Bornstein based on Shakespeare 's Romeo and Juliet parallels a love story of two star-crossed lovers. The play takes place in 1961 in New York City. This musical displays importance because it shows that nothing can overcome the power of love. This play is based on a love story between the main characters of Maria and Tony. Theses two are from different gangs that trouble to get along. They are from different gangs that do not get along at all. Roughly two hundred blocks make up Manhattan’s West Side, which stretches from Central Park West to the Hudson River. For the most part, the street youths
The main song being alluded to is "Varsouviana," a polka song that sounds a bit like merry-go-round music, which is constantly playing in Blanche’s head and disturbing her thoughts (Williams 141). Blanche’s husband had previously killed himself to this song, it now playing in repeat in her head and building up guilt on her shoulders as it was theoretically her fault. The tune works to set the scene for the instability overcoming Blanche, the creepy music inside her head unable to be heard by any other ears mixed with her inability to escape the guilt and anxiety that seems to blanket her every thought. Williams is able to incorporate this disturbing music on stage to show the audience Blanche’s slow decline of health, the insanity that steadily consumes her due to her lack of living with her present existence. Another song blended into the story is “It’s Only a Paper Moon” by Harold Arlen, a song that speaks on love and how it becomes an overwhelming aspect of people’s lives. It explains how love causes dependency as it morphs one's reality to fantasy: “It’s only a paper moon, just as phony as it can be— But it wouldn’t be make-believe If you believed in me!” (Williams 120-122). The song alludes to the illusory world she lives in, her desire for someone to join in on it through love as she slowly descends into madness, relying heavily on others to fuel her
The show is inspired by Maria Von Trapp and her family of Austrian origin, who became famous after fleeing their home country and becoming a touring musical ensemble. Director Vincent J. Donehue first gained inspiration for the musical from Maria Von Trapps memoir “The Trapp Family Singers”, along with the 1956 German film “The Trapp Family.”1, which was the first piece of work to tell the story of the family and slightly fictionalize it. With the thought of putting his good friend Mary Martin, a popular star of the time, in the leading role, Donehue enlisted the help of producers Leland Hayward and Richard Halliday (Martin’s husband). Ironically, they originally planned to create the show as a straight play with the exception of some Von-Trapp songs, and a couple of original numbers by Rodgers and Hammerstein. They quickly realized however, that to not musicalize the whole show would be next to impossible; thus sparking the creation of a full-fledged musical.
West Side Story came out in 1961 as a melodramatic musical that took place in New York. It takes the same theme as Shakespeare's, Romeo and Juliet, in that it is about two lovers whose relationship is not accepted by others because of conflicting backgrounds.