West Side Story

I don’t like musicals. I like the music in many of them, but I just can’t appreciate singing and dancing through a visual medium. West Side Story included.

My wife, however, loved musicals. She went to see West Side Story a number of times when it first hit the big screen in 1961. I skipped the show. When VCRs came to be, one of her first acquisitions was West Side Story and, of course, I was stuck on the couch watching it — or at least pretending to. As VCRs gave way to DVRs, it was again a quick buy and another attempt to get me to watch it with her. I think I fell asleep during the first finger-snapping introduction of the Jets and the Sharks.

In my defense, I do like some musicals, especially Damn Yankees and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. I think it’s because there was more live action between the singing and choreography.

So, I never really watched West Side Story. I knew the plot — an inner city 1950s Romeo and Juliet story. I knew the songs — Maria, Tonight, I Feel Pretty, Somewhere. I knew  there was lots of dancing to go along with the singing.

For some unknown reason, however, I decided to tape a Turner Movie Classics replay of West Side Story. The other day — I emphasize day as opposed to evening — I watched the flick in its entirety. I found myself singing along with some of the songs. I found myself laughing at how ridiculous the actors looked as they slithered around the set “fighting” in the rumbles. I found myself following the storyline and comparing how the gang mentality of the 50s compared and contrasted to this millennium.

As I concentrated on the plot, the film made sense. Cultural biases. The irrationality of violence. Gang mentality. It wasn’t half bad — especially if you could tune out the singing and dancing. It would have been a good drama.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: We don’t need to focus on changing the world; we need to change ourselves; for in changing ourselves, we will, to a degree, be changing the world!

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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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5 Responses to West Side Story

  1. This really happened. Yes, I’m quite mad.

    One day in the Walmart produce aisle
    (You weren’t there? Oh, what a pity!),
    I thought I would make my dear wife smile,
    so I sang and danced “I Feel Pretty.”
    Yes, this garnered some attention
    from my bride, and others, too.
    Some whispered thoughts about ‘detention’
    but stayed to watch ’till I was through.
    Security turned up ere the end,
    with faces puzzled and aghast
    ‘Twas a real cross-cultural blend;
    Chicanos and gringos laughed and laughed.
    Then came the manager of the store,
    “I missed it, please, do an encore?”

  2. Bruce says:

    I usually don’t like musicals either, but there is one I like. Brigadoon. Probably because I’m of Scots-Irish descent. My Scots ancestors came to this country fairly recently. My grandparents were born and raised in Scotland, and my late father was born in Scotland. On my mother’s side of the family, my great grandparents came from Ireland. Aye, I can understand and speak Scots-English (a combination of Scots and English words). I’m a member of the Matheson clan and the MacGregor clan on the Scots side, and the Duffy clan on the Irish side.

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