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Lyrical Life: West Side Story

When I was really young, we watched a lot of American musicals.  It seems odd at first glance, but I think my parents, actually my dad, probably loved musicals so much because they were very similar to Bollywood movies.  In the very early 80s, finding a Bollywood video was not an easy feat.  So I guess he made due with movie versions like Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady and, of course, West Side Story.

The song "America" in West Side Story made my dad laugh really hard and I never quite knew why.  I just remember how gorgeous Rita Moreno was in that number and how much I wanted to be JUST LIKE her when I grew up.  Now that I think about it, I probably liked her so much because she was one of the only famous faces at the time that I had a remote shot of looking like as an adult.

I watched the video on YouTube the other day and started giggling.

I get it now, Dad. It is a funny song.

Anyway.  It's a great little number. Enjoy.

I like to be in America!
O.K. by me in America!
Ev'rything free in America
(For a small fee in America!)

- "America", Stephen Sondheim

Reader Comments (8)

Big Hollywood musicals were family events for us growing up. We rarely sat down together to watch anything as a family when I was little, but it seems like when we did it was for West Side Story or Oklahoma! or South Pacific or The Sound of Music or even Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

The ridiculous nature of many of the songs ("Gee, Officer Krupke", "The Farmer and the Cowman", "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair", "The Lonely Goatherd" and, of course, "Sobbin' Women") appealed to my younger self in a big way.

Still do.

January 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterB.E. Earl

Oh, and finding Bollywood musicals just became easier. Netflix put about 50 new titles up on their Instant page just yesterday.

January 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterB.E. Earl

man, i LOVED rita moreno and i am nothing like her. but talent is easy to love.

January 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

Watched a lot of musicals growing up (gay brother), but this is one of my favorites. And this song? Runs through my head regularly (and every single time someone mentions this movie). God, Rita gorgeous - still.

January 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Ahem...still does.

January 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterB.E. Earl

Who couldn't love Rita Moreno?! She's gorgeous and awesome!

January 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSybil Law

(psst... don't tell anybody because it might ruin my mojo, but I always liked" rel="nofollow">this one...)

January 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRW

I know this song well, but I have never seen West Side Story.

Tragic, I know.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Britt

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