West Side Story is one of the most popular and influential musicals of the 20th century, inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Its central theme is of a love that is not ruled by any notion of right and wrong, and these necessarily lead to tragedy. A big hit on Broadway in the late 1950s, its adaptation into a movie starring Natalie Wood as Maria in 1961 was nominated for 10 Oscars and won as Best Picture and in 9 additional categories. All the singing ostensibly by Natalie Wood, however, was actually dubbed over and performed by another singer. This original movie had box office revenues of $44.1 million on a production cost of only $6.75 million.
Sarcastically dubbed "Woke Side Story," a $100 million politically correct remake directed by Steven Spielberg and released in December 2021 was one of the biggest box office busts in history, despite being highly acclaimed by liberal Hollywood:
|“||CNBC reported that Spielberg’s West Side Story brought in only $36.6 million in global ticket sales over its first three weeks in theaters. The production budget was around $100 million, although that doesn’t include its expensive marketing costs.||”|
Reportedly this politically correct remake failed particularly badly in the Midwest. Some of its dialog is anti-American Dream, while there are deliberately no subtitles for the Spanish-speaking scenes.
The story is taken from Romeo and Juliet, with music by famous conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The Capulets and Montagues of Shakespeare's classic play are replaced with the Jets and Sharks, rival street gangs in Manhattan.
Its love-story theme is:
- When love comes so strong
- There is no right or wrong
- newly-arrived Puerto Ricans and second-generation Americans from white European immigrant families (Tim Dirks)