On Saturday’s podcast of Radio Derb I opined thus:
I was trying to think of something Puerto Rican to play us out, but all I could come up with was West Side Story, which is kind of whiny and victimological. “Oh, we’re having such a hard time in A-me-ree-ca with all this prejudice and stuff … Really? So go back to Puerto Rico, pal. Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out.
A friend who is much more knowledgeable about Broadway show tunes than I am—I say no more than that—corrects me by email:
I think you should give the song another listen. It is basically a debate between the pro-American female Puerto Ricans praising America and putting down Puerto Rico, and the male singers doing vice versa.
All the complaints about prejudice comes from the males, and the last song ends:
BERNARDO: I think I’ll go back to San Juan.
ANITA: I know what boat you can get on.
BERNARDO: Everyone there will give big cheers.
ANITA: Everyone there will have moved here.
The opening lines go:
“Puerto Rico / My heart’s devotion / Let it sink back in the ocean /Always the hurricanes blowing / Always the population growing …”
Further, the original stage version did not contain any of the kvetching about racism, and portrayed a more negative view of Puerto Rico.
I am obliged for the correction. Thank you, Sir.