Open main menu

Gee, Officer Krupke

"Gee, Officer Krupke" is a comedy number from the musical West Side Story.  The song was composed by Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) and Leonard Bernstein (music), and was featured in both the Broadway musical and subsequent 1961 motion picture.[1]

Contents

ContentEdit

The song is sung by members of the street gang the Jets, who poke fun at the gruff Police Sergeant Krupke by singing about the societal forces that led them to join a gang. Following a theme used throughout the musical, the song begins with a tritone on the word "Dear," in this case held longer to signify its importance.[2][3] Lyrically, the song features four seven-line verses, each filled with puns and wordplay. Each verse culminates with an interjection ("Golly Moses", "Leapin' lizards"), followed by the final line.

CensorshipEdit

The last line of the song (performed as a "Shave and a Haircut" fanfare) is "Gee, Officer Krupke – Krup you!" Lyricist Stephen Sondheim originally wanted to break a then-existing Broadway taboo by ending the song with "Gee, Officer Krupke – fuck you!", but this was forbidden by Columbia Records, who owned the rights to the soundtrack. Sondheim changed the wording to "Krup you", and now believes it to be the best lyric in the musical.[4][5]

Stage Play vs. FilmEdit

In the original Broadway version, the song appears in the second act, but in the film version the song was moved to Act One, performed by the Jets (with Riff singing lead) prior to their imminent rumble with the Sharks. For the film's release, "Krupke" was switched with "Cool" (which was originally performed in the play's first act) on a request from Sondheim, who disliked the sequence of the songs in the play, feeling it was unfitting to a watch a street gang perform a comedy number right after their leader was killed in a fight. In a later interview, Russ Tamblyn (who played Riff in the film) remarked that the move was a smart idea.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://www.sondheim.com/commentary/track2.html
  2. ^ https://www.fromscoretostage.com/single-post/2017/05/17/West-Side-Story-The-Tritone-and-the-7th
  3. ^ http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0003065109360555
  4. ^ Chirico, Rob (5 July 2016). ""Krup You!" No More: How Broadway Learned to Swear". Retrieved 11 March 2018 – via Slate.
  5. ^ https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130732712