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West Side Story is certainly in a special class all by itself, for all kinds of reasons, but there are at least two songs that predict the coming of something great and intense, which will be both good and bad, at the same time, if one gets the drift. Of course, I also might add that one of the songs, "Dance at the Gym" is definitely the last part of a move in that general direction, but "Something's Comin'" is the first of those predictions of what's coming. Yes, Tony, in his exuberance, did sense in his bones that something was coming (but he didn't know what!, but then, so did his old buddy, Riff, when he said to Tony "Who knows? Maybe what you're lookin' for will be twitchin' at the dance tonight!"

The song "Tonight", however has a somewhat different, albeit more intense prediction of what's to come. It's clear that tonight definitely will be different than most nights, and it, too seems to predict something coming that's both good and bad. The following lyrics, I believe, are quite telling of what will be coming, but in a subtle way that seems to warn that caution should be taken.

"Tonight, tonight
won't be just any night.
Tonight there will be no
morning star."


The last sentence in the above verse of the song "Tonight" is even more telling, because it tells of something even more ominous, if not darker than what "Something's Comin'" was predicting. The sentence "Tonight, there will be no morning star" can be interpreted in different ways, but I tend to interpret this particular phrase as meaning that the night (at least in psycbological terms), which starts out as exuberant and full of optomism, promise and hope, will go up in smoke and sadness, but still nobody knows exactly what will happen. Yet, despite all the destruction and sadness, there would be a ray of hope as well.

Some people would interpret the song "Tonight", especially the phrase "Tonight there will be no morning star." as meaning that it's always darkest before the dawn; there has to be darkness before the light shows, that there must be war/conflict before there can be peace. West Side Story, overall, sends a double-edged but comprehensive message; The destructive consequences of racial/ethnic prejudice, gang violence, arrogance and hubris. Yet, it also depicts a ray of hope that, for a
(possibly fleeting) moment, manages to pierce the darkness--the coming together in the end of several Jets and Sharks who united (at least momentarily) to help carry Tony's body off after he'd been shot to death by Shark member, Chino. This latter set of circumstances sends the message that, as difficult as reconciliation between people can be and often is, reconciliation is still possible, even thought it may seem distant, with many obstacles along the way.

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wss crazy cool by dallowayward
westsidestory
West Side Story

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