Lin-Manuel Miranda Translates 'West Side Story' for a Modern Audience

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The Broadway revival of West Side Story is set to open tomorrow and we can't lie, we're totally psyched! Especially now that the Puerto Rican characters are actually being played by Latinos and even speak and sing in Spanish at times in this revision of the classic musical.

In the capable hands of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the changes in the story help to add depth to some of the main characters, like spunky Anita, Sharks gang leader Bernardo and love blind Maria. Director Arthur Laurent asked Miranda to work on the adjustments last year after seeing a Spanish-language production of the play.

"Arthur had come back from a trip to Latin America where he had seen a Spanish-language production of the show—and the Sharks were the heroes of the piece," Miranda told the NY Daily News, "He realized that by having the characters speaking Spanish, people understood them much better."

Laurents and legendary lyricist Stephen Sondheim (a long time hero of Miranda's) allowed Lin-Manuel the freedom to put his own twist on the translations with only one limitation, "I could use whatever imagery that would work in Spanish but the lyrics had to rhyme for the English listener," Miranda divulged.

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About this author

Mariela Rosario,

I'm a raging opinionista and I love to share my ramblings on everything from pop culture to food to stuff that makes me laugh & cry! I've worked in all types of media (TV, film, print) and was previously the online editor at Latina magazine before joining Mamás Latinas. On most nights you can find me working my way through my library of cookbooks or playing with my puppy Lola (my only child so far). I have a wonderful hubby who shares my passion for any and all kinds of travel. Together, we've formed a semi-professional wine drinking team.

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