The Cultural Perspectives of West Side Story

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Flavin, Sandra
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University Honors College Middle Tennessee State University
This thesis explores the cultural perspectives of West Side Story and whether the musical should be shelved as a piece of history. Culture is defined by traditions, clothing, language, music, the arts, the people, and achievements of a particular nation. This thesis discusses how the musical West Side Story portrays Puerto Ricans and their culture within the story. The extensive research from books on the creators of West Side Story, the history of American and Puerto Rican culture, and countless interviews, videos, periodicals, websites, and scholarly articles have shaped this thesis. With all this information, I was able to confirm that although West Side Story has not represented the Puerto Rican culture accurately, it is a living, breathing art that will be reimagined, revised, and produced for years to come.
Liberal Arts, West Side Story, Puerto Rican culture, appropriation of Puerto Ricans, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, gangs, New York City, Broadway, West Side Story Revivals, The History of West Side Story, discrimination, racism