A photograph of the actress Rita Moreno performing “America” in the 1961 film production of West Side Story.
West Side Story premiered as a Broadway musical in 1957 and was adapted into a movie in 1961. The story is an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set in an ethnically mixed neighborhood on New York’s West Side. The plot follows young lovers Tony and Maria, caught between two rival gangs, the Puerto Rican Sharks and the white Jets. Rita Moreno, pictured here, played Anita in the film adaptation. Anita was previously played by actress Chita Rivera on Broadway. Rita Moreno was born in Puerto Rico and migrated to New York with her mother in 1936. In this musical number, Anita and other members of the Puerto Rican community sing about the relative benefits of moving to America versus staying in Puerto Rico.