BONUS: Steven Spielburg’s West Side Story!


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That's right... We're not done with the 1957 Broadway classic West Side Story! Today in this very special holiday bonus episode, we're talking about the 2021 Steven Spielberg adaptation. We talk about:

- Spielberg’s style and the political & sociological context that he and screenwriter Tony Kushner bring to the original material

- Shifts in religious imagery from 1961 to 2021 - and how the film shifts the setting of the story's religious/liturgical moments

- How the film raises the stakes of Tony & Maria’s love by paying deeper attention to the political & racial context of the late 50s

- A deeper and more nuanced take on Maria & Anita and the ways they navigate white society

- Valentina, the new character created by Kushner and Spielberg - and what it means to have Rita Moreno’s presence in the film

- The phenomenon of midrash in the Jewish exegetical tradition and how this film riffs on the complications & tensions inherent in the original material

- The theological question of whether it’s true that when “love comes on so strong, there is no right or wrong” – and Maria as a (literal!) Marian figure

You’ll hear tracks from the 2021 Film Soundtrack:

- David Alvarez and the Sharks singing “La Borinquena”.

- Gustavo Dudamel leading players from the New York and LA Philharmonics in “Mambo” from the Dance at the Gym

- Ansel Elgorty and Rachel Zegler singing “One Hand, One Heart”

- Rachel Zegler, Ana Isabelle, Ilda Mason, Annelise Cepero, Jamila Velazquez, Andrea Burns, Tanairi Sade Vazquez & Yassmin Alers singing “I Feel Pretty”

- Ariana DeBose and Rachel Zegler singing “A Boy Like That/I Have A Love”

- Rita Moreno singing “Somewhere”

Continue the conversation with Peter (@pgeinvan) and Nathan (@nathan_lerud) on Twitter, and follow the Gospel of Musical Theatre on Instagram or Twitter @gospelofmt.

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