Resolved? How West Side Story Uses Music and More to Display its Message. (Podcast Episode)

THTR 3333 students Kaicie Kidd and Stephen Angelakos discuss the 1961 film adaptation of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. From music, to choreography, to even lighting design, this musical provides a great platform for discussing the topics of race and ethnicity in mid-20th century America.

Maria and Tony stand worlds apart, but seem ultimately closer by the blurred crowd between them.

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2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. As a musician myself, I absolutely love your guys’ musical analysis of the production numbers. It’s been a while since I have taken music theory but yes, I definitely notice the pattern of a distinct tritone every time there was conflict between the sharks and the jets. The soundtrack most definitely adds to the racial tension and overall portrayal of race in West Side Story. I did not even notice the dissonance of America when it was played in Anita’s sexual assault within the diner. I was so wrapped up in the plot and what was happening to comprehend the change in musical composition of America. The dissonance played along to the situation so well I did not even notice it. Phenomenal analysis of West Side Story’s musical production!

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  2. I love how critically y’all examined the blurred dance scene and examining through a lens of race. The blurring effect is certainly meaningful and provides an element of distinction between genders and races. You were very convicted in sharing your arguments and provided several elements regarding choreography, music, and cinematography which provides a lot of evidence in support of your thesis.

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