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The Puerto Rican Prophecy of Leonard Bernstein

ANITA: Puerto Rico . . .
You ugly island . . .
Island of tropic diseases.
Always the hurricanes blowing,
Always the population growing . . .
And the money owing,
And the babies crying,
And the bullets flying.
I like the island Manhattan.
Smoke on your pipe and put that in!

OTHERS: I like to be in America!
O.K. by me in America!
Ev’rything free in America
For a small fee in America!

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  • Casey Klahn September 21, 2017, 8:09 AM

    Paint me incredulous…that a balanced song such as this made it to Broadway. Great looking, talented youth.

  • bfwebster September 21, 2017, 8:39 AM

    Exhibit A as to why Stephen Sondheim — who was just in his 20s when he wrote this and the other lyrics for “West Side Story” — is the most brilliant Broadway lyricist ever. Over 60 years later, the song still holds up well, causing both wincing and laughter.

  • Rob De Witt September 21, 2017, 9:34 AM

    Here comes a whole buncha cultural enrichment….

  • Eskyman September 21, 2017, 12:39 PM

    Years ago I took a Criminology course in Australia. The lecturer was very much into sociology and social theories relating to crime & criminals (she was also damned cute.)

    I was amazed that she’d never heard “Gee, Officer Krupke.” So I copied that song onto a cassette tape (remember them?) and typed out the lyrics. Then it was her turn to be amazed: everything she’d been talking about was in that song. (I didn’t point out that the song was more accurate than she was in one respect: “Deep down inside him, he’s no good.” She thought evil could be cured.)

    West Side Story told a multitude of stories within its Romeo & Juliet framework. A true masterpiece.

  • pbird September 22, 2017, 9:01 AM

    I thought of that song instantly when PR’s troubles began this time.

  • bob sykes September 23, 2017, 5:46 AM

    The significant thing about Stephen Sondheim is that nothing he wrote ever came close to the West Side lyrics. One really has to wonder how much of it was his and how much Bernstein.