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Brooklyn College welcomes Steven Spielberg for special lecture

December 7, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Serving as a finale to its months-long cultural and educational series, “West Side Story: The Brooklyn Connection,” Brooklyn College’s Department of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies will present a conversation with Steven Spielberg, the legendary director of the reimagined film West Side Story, on Dec. 8 at 11 a.m.

Spielberg will be interviewed by Associate Professor María Pérez y González and Professor Emerita Virginia Sánchez Korrol, who were both instrumental in creating the department’s West Side Story series centering on the 10-time Academy Award-winning 1961 film and its connection to the new film, which was produced by Spielberg, Tony Kushner, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Kevin McConnell and Rita Moreno.

“We are thrilled to have Steven Spielberg share his insights about directing his first musical and lend his expertise about the significance of West Side Story, both his new visionary adaptation and the timeless original,” said Pérez y González. “The entire series has been an incredible success, and this was the proverbial icing on the cake.”

This image released by 20th Century Studios shows Ariana DeBose as Anita, foreground left, and David Alvarez as Bernardo in “West Side Story.” Niko Tavernise/20th Century Studios via AP

Part of the intercultural competency rubric in general education at the college, the class NY Latinx Culture and the Arts, which served as the educational component to the series, was taught by Pérez y González. The course explored the artistic and cultural impact of West Side Story through the lenses of the humanities and social sciences, highlighting Puerto Rico’s history with the United States, immigration, ethno-racial relations, gender, gangs, language, music, character analysis and more.

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Throughout the semester, students, as well as Brooklyn College’s extended family, enjoyed other guest lecturers, including Kushner (playwright, author, and screenwriter), Bobby Sanabria (multiple Grammy-nominated percussionist, composer, arranger, and producer), and Jeanine Tesori (composer, vocal arranger, conductor, and producer).

The online event is free and open to the public, but attendees must register in advance on the Brooklyn College website.

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