News: Who’s an American? The current crop of musicals may have the best answer. - The Washington Post
“Immigrant!” Anita sneers, playfully but dismissively, at her lover, Bernardo, in the run-up to “West Side Story’s” glorious Act 1 number, “America.” The time is the mid-1950s, when a large influx from Puerto Rico was adding to New York City’s ethnic mosaic, and a young Latina, besotted by the possibilities of her new life, could be portrayed as denigrating her boyfriend simply by reminding him he wasn’t born in the continental United States.
It’s a fortunate convergence, having had “West Side Story” revived in marvelous fashion at Arlington’s Signature Theatre at the same time that “Hamilton” is conquering Broadway. Their vigorous presences drive home a point, about the unusual degree to which musical-theater productions — new and in revival — are devoting themselves to a divisive topic transfixing our political culture: who is, and what it means to be, an American.
Read the full article at WashingtonPost.com.