America Is One Big Salad Bowl Essay

1485 Words Dec 7th, 2016 6 Pages
The United States of America has long been thought of a “melting pot”, a place where people of all cultures, traditions and backgrounds could thrive equally, each contributing their own experiences into the community. Recently however, the term “salad bowl” has been regarded to be a better metaphor for the United States. All of the different cultures of America don’t blend or melt together, but rather stand apart on their own, conserving their own cultural identity, or flavor. Regrettably, when looking at musical theater, and Broadway in general, the idea that America is one big “salad bowl” is almost entirely absent. In this paper I will examine how within the last decade, Hispanic people and their culture have been represented in musical theatre. Though I want to mainly focus on the last ten years, it is very challenging to talk about Latino theatre without mentioning the 1957 musical, West Side Story, which is largely considered to be a Latin musical. And while it is a musical about Hispanic people, it is not at all the best example of legitimate Latin musical theatre. The story relies thickly on destructive Hispanic stereotypes; the boys are all gang members or criminals that welcome violence in their lives. Furthermore, West Side Story was not an authentic Hispanic story. Non-Hispanic men wrote the musical’s book, lyrics and music. In the 1961 popular film adaptation both actors playing Tony and Maria were white; in fact, the white actors in the movie wore dark…

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