Instructional Video

Rita Moreno and West Side Story

West Side Story—a hit Broadway musical or a true-life tragedy about turf wars in New York City? The video shows young academics the gang wars and violence that led to the creation of the musical. It also describes how discrimination played a part in casting the Broadway musical that depicted events.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Lead a group discussion on tensions between ethnic groups in New York City
  • Have pupils watch West Side Story 
  • Work into a lesson during Hispanic Heritage Month
Classroom Considerations
  • Requires a free PBS account
  • The video uses primary sources, including images and interviews 
  • It's easy to use the clip for multiple lessons, such as the Civil Rights Movement and immigration 
  • None