I Feel Pretty

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"I Feel Pretty" is a song from the 1957 musical West Side Story.


The New York Times explained that "Mr. Sondheim…has said he was never particularly fond of his lyrics in 'West Side Story,' especially 'I Feel Pretty'", later expressing that "The idea of the song is so simple".[1]


In the musical, Maria is not yet aware that her love, Tony, has just killed her brother Bernardo, while in the film version, the song occurs before Bernardo's death. In the bridal shop where she works, Maria sings about being happy and feeling beautiful because she is "loved by a pretty wonderful boy", while her coworkers tease her about her silly behavior. Robert Cummings of AllMusic comments that the song "features one of Bernstein's more memorable melodies: its first four notes, deliciously rhythmic in their rising contour, repeat, then are reduced to three, then to two. …Bernstein's instrumentation colors the music with a Latin character…and so does the girls' chorus that enters midway through. Stephen Sondheim's lyrics deftly capture Maria's bliss and newfound sense of confidence".[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Birmingham Mail described the song as "delightful",[3] while The Tab deemed it a "classic".[4] Applause Meter called it "sweetly charming"[5] and VCOnStage called it "operatic".[6]

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered by many artists[7], including Annie Ross and Julie Andrews. Little Richard covered the song as part of the 1996 RCA Victor tribute album The Songs of West Side Story.[8]

The song was mashed up with the song "Unpretty" by TLC in a Glee episode to create "I Feel Pretty/Unpretty", a duet that attempts to show the irony in people feeling pretty on the outside but unpretty on the inside.[citation needed]


  • On the children's show Sesame Street, episode 3522, Oscar the Grouch's girlfriend, Grundgetta, is going to school to become a Grouch beautician. Upon explaining just that, she sings "I Feel Yucky" (a parody of "I Feel Pretty"), expressing how yucky she feels, and how she wants everyone to look and feel that yucky also.[9]


  1. ^ "Same City, New Story". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  2. ^ Cummings, Robert. "Leonard Bernstein: 'I Feel Pretty', song", Allmusic, accessed February 12, 2016
  3. ^ "Review: West Side Story at the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham - Roz Laws". Birminghammail.co.uk. 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  4. ^ "Review: West Side Story". Exeter.tab.co.uk. 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  5. ^ "West Side Story – Review". Applause-meter.com. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  6. ^ "Theater League's 'West Side Story' – A Revival of Rumbles and Romance". Vconstage.com. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  7. ^ "I Feel Pretty", SecondHandSongs.com, accessed February 12, 2016
  8. ^ "The Songs Of West Side Story", Amazon, accessed March 25, 2017
  9. ^ Sesame Street Episode 3522 street story

External links[edit]