‘West Side Story’ Premiers on Broadway 1957

As the curtain finally closed, cheers and applause rang through New York’s Winter Garden Theatre as the beloved musical “West Side Story” premiered on Broadway. The play is homage to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, set in the 1950s with New York street gangs.  Tony, a gang member, falls in love with Maria, the brother of a rival Puerto Rican gang member.  Tragedy ensues for the star-crossed lovers as they pursue their romance (you’d think that we’d learn our lessons, but nooooo). The play was recreated as a musical in 1961, sweeping the Academy Awards that year with 10 Awards, including for “Best Picture”. One of the memorable songs is “Somewhere”, which begins, “There’s a place for us /Somewhere a place for us / Peace and quiet and open air/ Wait for us somewhere”, which is still a plaintive theme song for many Latinx immigrants.

Happy Birthday to Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García de Estefan

Happy Birthday to singer, songwriter, and actress Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García de Estefan.  Known to the nation as the Queen of Latin Pop, Estefan and her happy family are the song of the American Dream.  Born in Havana, Cuba, she immigrated to Miami with her family at a young age.  The family endured the hardships and challenges of starting over in a new land, as well as the tragedies of her father’s disabilities contracted while serving his adopted country in the Vietnam War.  Music was her solace. The shy Estefan overcame her severe stage fright, and in the 1980s and 1990s reigned over the norteamericano airwaves as the US smiled to her Latin beat.  Estefan and Emilio, her husband and musical collaborator, married and live in Miami with their two children. Her numerous awards include the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Medallion of Excellence for Community Service, the Berklee College of Music honorary doctorate, and Person of the Year by the Latin Grammy Awards. (Image of album cover)