Highs and Lows

'In the Heights' & 'West Side Story'

When he was asked to write the lyrics for the 1957 musical West Side Story, the young Stephen Sondheim reportedly protested, “I’ve never even known a Puerto Rican!”

He took the job in the end, collaborating with composer Leonard Bernstein, playwright Arthur Laurents, and choreographer-director Jerome Robbins to create one of the most influential musicals in Broadway history. Its legacy was still palpable fifty years later...

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About the Author

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly is an associate editor of Commonweal. She blogs at dotCommonweal.