Witnessing the US’s prevailing social and political divide over the past year brings to mind I’m watching an updated version of the 1961 movie West Side Story. Recent events giving Ernest Lehman’s screenplay a 2020/21 revamp to reflect the ‘warring’ MAGA and ANTIFA gangs; as opposed of the original disenchanted hordes, the Sharks and Jets.

Of course, the scale of disorder in the movie was on a much smaller scale than the metaphorical remake of which I suggest. In that celluloid offering, with Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s wonderful musical score, the main protagonists were an American gang of youths scrapping with Puerto Rican immigrants. To the victor the spoils of controlling territory in New York City’s Upper West Side.

In my imagined updated screenplay the confrontational actions of both sides of the divide play out in a seemingly nationwide rift. Each sides agendas seeking control of the whole country, not just a few rundown blocks of NYC real estate.

Footnote – Rift as in of differing opinion; not to be mistaken with Riff who was the character leading the Jets in the original West Side Story movie/stageshow.

Anyhow, as this revamp plays out in my head, with apologies to Bernstein and Sondheim, I’ve adapted the original confrontational refrain ‘Tonight (Quintet)’ into a 2020/21 version. This parody aimed at reflecting the contemporary US political and social culture landscape. If you’re unaware of the music’s riff (no not the original Jet leader), I’ve included a link to a YouTube clip of the 1961 movie offering at the end of the prose.

Are you ready orchestra?….. Here goes……. Der, der, dur…… Der, der, dur………

MAGA
MAGA’s gonna have their day
Tonight.
MAGA’s gonna have their way
Tonight.
Left Winger’s grumble,
“Fair fight.”
But if they start a rumble,
We’ll rumble ’em right.

ANTIFA
We’re gonna hand ’em a surprise
Tonight.
We’re gonna cut ’em down to size
Tonight.
We said, “Okay, no rumpus,
No tricks.”
But just in case they jump us,
We’re ready to mix
Tonight!

MAGA
We’re gonna rock it tonight,
We’re gonna jazz it up and have us
A ball.

ANTIFA
They’re gonna get it tonight;
The more they turn it on, the
Harder they’ll fall!

MAGA
Well, they began it —

ANTIFA
Well, they began it

BOTH GANGS
And we’re the ones to stop ’em
Once and for all.
Tonight!

MELANIA
Melania’s won’t get her kicks
Tonight.
When Donald’s back at six
Tonight.
He’ll walk in hot and tired,
Poor dear.
Don’t matter if he’s fired,
He’ll get nowhere near
Tonight!

DONNY
Tonight, tonight
Won’t be just any night
Tonight there will be no morning star.
Tonight, tonight
I’ll see my love tonight,
If mirrors are about
Where we are.

DONNY’s REFLECTION (In the mirror)
Today
The minutes seem like hours,
The hours go so slowly,
And still MAGA boys they fight . . .
Oh moon, grow bright,
And make this endless day endless night!

MAGA
MAGA are comin’ out on top
Tonight.
We’re gonna watch Biden drop
Tonight!
That Pennsylvanian punk’ll
Go down
And when he’s hollered Uncle
We’ll tear up the town!

DONNY  (to MAGA)
We’ll be in back of you, boys

MAGA
Right!

DONNY T
You’re gonna flatten democracy good.

MAGA
Right!

DONNY T
(with proper punch)
ONE, TWO, THREE.

MAGA
(with proper punch)
ONE, TWO, THREE.

DONNY T
And then we’ll have us a ball
Tonight.

BIDEN AND ANTIFA
We’re gonna jazz it tonight
They’re gonna get it tonight —
Tonight.
They began it — they began it
And we’re the ones
To stop ’em once and for all!
ANTIFA are gonna have their way,
ANTIFA are gonna have their day,
We’re gonna rock it tonight —
Tonight!

DONNY AND MAGA
They began it.
They began it.
We’ll stop ’em once and for all
The Jets are gonna have their day,
The Jets are gonna have their way,
We’re gonna rock it tonight.
Tonight

Music and singing fade

These things never end well…… I mean the screenplay, not the musicals songs….. Below is the original:-