The American Dream, the idea of venturing here for a better life, stretches as far back as the first colonists to set foot on these shores. It is repeated in every immigrant story today, and it will be a part of the Boston Pops 4th of July celebration.
The annual Boston Pops 4th of July concert entertains millions of people across the country each year. On the lineup this year is Rita Moreno, a Puerto Rican actress and singer and one of only 12 EGOT winners.
Moreno currently stars in One Day At A Time on Netflix, but many may know her from her iconic role in West Side Story as Anita. In the 1961 musical, Moreno sings “America,” a song from the perspective of Puerto Ricans about coming to America for a better life.
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Though Puerto Ricans are not immigrants as the island is a United State’s territory, the song speaks to many immigrants’ stories. Moreno will sing “America,” as well as West Side Story’s “Somewhere,” on stage at the Boston Pops 4th of July concert this year, Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart announced at a Monday news conference.
Moreno will also be a part of what Lockhart described as a “very special moment in this concert.” She will read on stage the words of Emma Lazarus, which are inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, as well as words by “two immigrants of long ago,” Lockhart said, “their hopes, their dreams upon sailing into the New York Harbor,” which are excerpts from composer Peter Boyer’s work “Ellis Island: The Dream of America.”
“We try to celebrate the elements that bring us together, the elements that make us Americans and one of the things I think we can all agree on is the important role, the elemental essential role, that immigration has played in forming this country,” Lockhart said.
“All of us, everybody I’m looking at pretty much, is the offspring of someone who came to this country seeking a better life,” he added, “and seeking to connect with the ideal that world [holds] out for America.”