By David Preston | @davpresto
WASHINGTON — While the curtain comes down on WTOP “Jet Week,” we never got to see what happened after the curtain came down on “West Side Story.”
Yes, we know that Tony, Bernardo and Riff each met their respective ends on stage and screen, but what happened to the rest of the characters going forward? After plenty of research, some answers.
Maria: Maria renounces the hate that she found late in the movie and becomes a nun in Austria, where the hills are alive. Working in the turbulent ’60s, she helps the famed nun Sister Sophia in assisting refugees escaping the Iron Curtain countries. How do you solve a problem like Maria?
Anita: Unable to return to the dress shop where she and Bernardo had many romantic moments, Anita teaches herself to type and gets a job with the Electric Company as a secretary.
Chino: Chino pleads to manslaughter and gets out after 15 years rehabilitated. He’s able to get his GED and becomes a math teacher, standing and delivering to inner-city neighborhoods.
Ice: Ice leaves the Jets to enlist in the army, using his leadership skills to stay cool in times of crisis. He retires after a decorated career as Sgt. Major Kazansky, while inspiring his son Tom to enter the military, where he was one of the Navy’s most decorated pilots in the 1980s.
Action: True to his name, Action takes over the Jets and runs them into the ground with his high-octane antics. He then discovers Sanka brand decaf and becomes a beat poet in Greenwich Village, where he becomes known as the guy who tells others how things were when he was their age.
A-Rab: Unable to deal with his “father’s DT’s” (i.e. alcoholism) — as well as his hyphenated nickname — A-Rab moves west and puts his kid brother through law school. His lookalike nephew Neil becomes a child actor.
Pepe: After briefly taking over the Sharks, Pepe goes straight when he’s recruited by Officer Krupke to join the NYPD. Eventually, Pepe partners with Lt. Schrank and hilarity ensues on a weekly basis in 23-minute installments.
Baby John: Baby John wisely gets out of the gang business and takes a job at Doc’s Candy Store. He eventually becomes assistant manager, but his massive incompetence prevents him from climbing any higher up the corporate ladder.
Anybody’s: Pulling inspiration from her own struggle to belong, Anybody’s becomes a freedom rider and tries to help register African American voters in the deep south. She then joins the anti-war movement and eventually runs the community center on the west side.
Sharks & Jets: Although the Jets and Sharks withered away like the Emeralds and Hawks before them, the west side would stay violent with the Cobras and Panthers filling the vacuum:
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