Realities of West Side Story

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Realities of West Side Story Filmed in 1961, West Side Story is a modern-day telling of Romeo and Juliet. Two youths struggle with their forbidden love as two gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, duel. At the end of the film, Maria says, “You all killed him […] with hate!” This is a universally acknowledged theme that hate can kill. West Side Story is said to be a “morality play about “our” everyday problems: racism, poverty, and the destructiveness of violence” . Shortly after 1949 had been rung in, Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins were already hard at work. Robbins had called with an idea of “a modern version of Romeo and Juliet set in slums […].” The original idea called for dissention between Jews and Catholics during Easter-Passover celebrations. The Capulets, i.e. Juliet, are Jewish; the Montagues, i.e. Romeo, are Catholics. Friar Lawrence will become the neighborhood druggist. The general idea was to create a successful musical that tells a tragic story in a musical comedy. With the suggestion of Arthur Laurents writing the book by Robbins, the idea becomes more of a reality . The New York Times printed an article in later that month with the headline of ‘Romeo to receive musical styling.’ An obstacle they faced was the family versus religion oriented story they were now creating – which would stray from the original Romeo and Juliet theme. The musical was put on the back burner of all but Robbins’ mind New York circa 1950 to 1960, when the film would take place, was full of gang violence and juvenile delinquents. Arthur Laurents, and Leonard Bernstein had been meeting up, trying to collaborate on a work which would end up falling through. Spying a Los Angeles Times headline on gang violence in 1955 be... ... middle of paper ... ...r, Chino takes it upon himself to kill Tony . Bibliography Bernstein, Leonard, and Arthur Laurents. West Side story: a musical. New York: Random House, 1958. Berson, Misha. Something's Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination. Milwaukee, WI: Applause Theatre & Cinema, 2011. Print. Negron-Muntaner, F. "Feeling Pretty: WEST SIDE STORY AND PUERTO RICAN IDENTITY DISCOURSES." Social Text 18.2 63 (2000): 83-106. Print. Sandoval Sanchez, Alberto. ""West Side Story" by Alberto Sandoval Sanchez." JUMP CUT: A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA. Jump Cut, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. Simeone, Nigel. Leonard Berstein, West Side Story. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2009. Print. Wells, Elizabeth Anne. West Side Story: Cultural Perspectives on an American Musical. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2011. Print. West Side Story. Film. : Metro Golden Mayer, 1961.
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