The original “West Side Story” (1961) with the all-star classic cast ensemble, is one of my all-time favorite musicals. I have seen the movie several times. At one point in BLAH YEAR, I had the opportunity to experience the stage version with Dean Butler (“Little House on the Prairie”/Almanzo) as “Tony” and Yamil Borges (“A Chorus Line”/Morales) as “Anita”. I know each note of the movie soundtrack from the prologue to the last beat.
When I heard that “West Side Story” was getting a reboot, I let out an exasperated groan of annoyance with copycat movies. Then as I learned more about the people involved in the project, my skepticism began to melt away. I have full faith in Steven Spielberg and Rita Moreno! See if this teaser trailer gives you goosebumps too!
One of my favorite and Academy Award® winning director Steven Spielberg reimagined Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winning musical. “West Side Story” tells the classic tale of fierce racial rivalries amidst young love in 1957 New York City. The Walt Disney Company will release “West Side Story” in U.S. theaters on December 10, 2021.
This beloved musical stars the talented:
- Ansel Elgort (“Divergent” franchise, “The Fault in Our Stars”), as “Tony”
- Rachel Zegler (Performing Arts student and Singer-Songwriter), as “María”
- Ariana DeBose (“Hamilton”), as “Anita”
- David Alvarez (“The Stamp Collector”), as “Bernardo”
- Mike Faist (Tony Nominated), as “Riff”
- Josh Andrés Rivera (Newcomer), as “Chino”
- Ana Isabelle (Award-winning Puerto Rican Singer-Songwriter/Dance), as “Rosalía”
- Corey Stoll (“Shutter Island”, “Arbitrage”), as “Lieutenant Schrank”
- Brian d’Arcy James (“13 Reasons Why”), as “Officer Krupke”
- and epic Rita Moreno, “Valentina”, who owns the corner store in which Tony works
Rita Moreno is one of only three artists to be honored with all Academy®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, Tony® and Peabody Awards. This thespian royalty also serves as one of the film’s executive producers. When did you first notice Rita Moreno? She impressed me early on, as I grew up watching “The Electric Company” in the 70’s with Rita Moreno and Morgan Freeman!
Bringing together the best of both Broadway and Hollywood, the film’s creative team includes Kushner, who also serves as an executive producer; Tony Award® winner Justin Peck, who choreographed the musical numbers in the film; renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor and GRAMMY Award® winner Gustavo Dudamel, who helmed the recording of the iconic score; Academy Award®-nominated composer and conductor David Newman (“Anastasia”), who arranged the score; Tony Award®-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (“Fun Home,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie”), who supervised the cast on vocals; and Grammy®-nominated music supervisor Matt Sullivan (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Chicago”), who served as executive music producer for the film. The film is produced by Spielberg, Academy Award®-nominated producer Kristie Macosko Krieger and Tony Award®-winning producer Kevin McCollum. “West Side Story” has been adapted for the screen from the original 1957 Broadway show, with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and concept, direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins.
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