Saturday, July 19, 2008

West Side Story is coming back!

Or to put it this way, Gee, officer Krupke!

A new production of West Side Story is coming to Broadway (I like to live in America...)
They are threatening to make it more authentic, with actual singing and dancing Latins, which is actually great, and actual words in Spanish. I can't wait. It is a gorgeous musical. My only concern is that there seems to be a Spanish libretto from Argentina that they are using as a base and somebody saw a Colombian production, and it's all well and good but the Spanish slang of Maria and friends is Puerto Rican and it should reflect that.
I'm sure the producers will have the good sense to run it through the Puerto Rican equivalent of the Royal Academy of Language before it opens (or something like that).
There is nothing more offensive to Spanish speakers than when Spanish is used incorrectly by non-Spanish speakers that are trying to be nice and they end up fouling up the language. Or they get the slang wrong. Believe it or not, here in the US, this happens, inexcusably, with much more frequency than it should. The sad truth is that many Latinos here speak their own language very badly for a variety of reasons, including the hideous Hispanic media, the indifference to reading, and the lack of serious respect for Spanish.
I just happened to write a letter to the organizers of the Latino Film Festival in NY, complaining about their communications in Spanish, which seem to have been written by an illiterate. It is appalling that a film festival that represents this culture cannot find a proofreader to make sure that the Spanish is correct. It is offensive and highly unprofessional. But there always seems to be a double standard. The English is fine; the Spanish is plagued by errors, as if it was the language of retards. This drives me CRAZY.
So I hope for the sake of my very favorite musical, that whatever Spanish they insert in there is the right one.

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