The movie West Side Story (based on the play of the same title),
is a classic romantic tragedy, in adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play
Romeo and Juliet. Instead of feuding families intent of keeping young lovers
apart, as in Romeo and Juliet; West Side Story, set in New York City
during the late 1950s, pits rival gangs against each other.
The Sharks, a Puerto Rican gang, despise members of the Jets,
another neighbourhood gang of Eastern European immigrant youth.
(image from fanpop):
Jet and Shark gang members in the climatic “rumble”,
which results in mournful outcome
Their intense animosity stems from distrust, suspicion, stereotypical beliefs
and limited knowledge of their respective cultural background;
leading to attitudes of “stick to your own kind”.
In such environment of enmity, the love which ignites between
Puerto Rican Maria and Polish-American Tony is ill-fated from inception.
Their love, which is pure and true, adds to further
tensions between the Jets and Sharks –
culminating in an explosive and tragic end.
(image from dailymail.co.uk):
The ill-fated lovers Maria, played by Natalie Wood and
Tony, played by Richard Beymer
The film West Side Story was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won ten,
including Best Picture. The music was composed by the great Leonard Bernstein
with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
duet with Maria and Tony
on the night of their ‘love at first sight’ meeting
the beautiful ballad sang as duet by Maria and Tony
about escaping from the hate that envelopes them and finding
“somewhere” to live together openly and happily together
A Boy Like That
after tragedy strikes
sung as duet by Maria and her close friend Anita,
in which Anita warns Maria that love for Tony can only
lead to more pain and heart ache