Media Reaction Paper - West Side Story

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Media Reaction Paper: West Side Story
West Side Story was one of the first musicals this writer saw on Broadway. It was such a mesmerizing experience to live the culmination of the hard work performed by a group of very talented individuals that stemmed from a single idea. It was not until research was done for this paper that this student realized what a great cultural impact West Side Story was when it was first introduced to audiences. The book for West Side Story was written by Arthur Laurents in 1949. An interesting fact about this legendary story is that it was not always named West Side Story. The original name given this tale, based on Romeo and Juliet, was “East Side Story.” It was written as a rivalry tale between a gang of Roman Catholic teenagers named The Jets, and a gang of Jewish teenagers named The Emeralds. Because this topic of rivalry between the Jewish and Roman Catholic communities was redundant in the industry at the time, the creative team composed of Arthur Laurents, Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein, decided to put the project on hold. Thus, they ceased work on the idea for a period of almost five years (Miller, 2006). After five years the creative team reunited to work on other projects and decided to revisit East Side Story and give it a completely new twist and decided to set it in Harlem, New York City (Miller, 2006). West Side Story depicts the love between a Caucasian teenage boy from the West Side of New York City and a young Puerto Rican girl from the same neighborhood. The characters were all from a poor neighborhood and hung out on the streets together. There were two gangs that were in constant conflict with each other: The Jets and The Sharks. Tony, the main character, is a member of the Jets, a gang composed of Caucasian teenage boys. He is however, different from the rest of the members and wants to work and someday go on his own way. María is the sister of the leader of the Sharks, a gang composed of teenage...