'West Side Story': Release date, cast, plot and all you need to know about Spielberg's remake of the 1957 Broadway hit

'West Side Story': Release date, cast, plot and all you need to know about Spielberg's remake of the 1957 Broadway hit

Steven Spielberg is working on his own adaptation of the 'Romeo and Juliet'-inspired 1957 Broadway musical 'West Side Story', which was also the basis for a 1961 movie which became a cult classic and received rave reviews and multiple accolades after its release in 1961. 

Spielberg is one of Hollywood's most influential filmmakers and the film promises to be a major hit with the classic storyline and a vivid cast recreating the magic.

Here is all you need to know about the upcoming remake:

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg (Source: Getty Images)

Release date

The movie is slated to release on December 18, 2020.


Spielberg has cast 17-year-old high schooler Rachel Zegler as Maria in his remake of 'West Side Story'. Zegler had auditioned for the part after an open casting call for Latinx actors. She will make her film debut opposite Ansel Elgort as Tony.


Broadway veteran Ariana DeBose has been cast as Anita and David Alvarez as Bernardo.

Theater performer Josh Andrés Rivera has been cast as Chino. Rita Moreno will feature as Valentina, a reconceived and expanded version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store where Tony works. 

Rachel Zegler and Ansel Elgort (Twitter)

"When we began this process a year ago, we announced that we would cast the roles of Maria, Anita, Bernardo, Chino and the Sharks with Latina and Latino actors," Spielberg said

Justin Peck will choreograph the dance numbers in the musical which will be produced by Spielberg, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Kevin McCollum, and Stacey Snider, based on a screenplay by Tony Kushner. 



The 1957 Broadway musical was a reimagining of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'. Spielberg's new film will be a remake of the 1961 movie that was based on the Broadway musical and revolves around the rivalry between two gangs of teenagers in a New York neighborhood — the Sharks and the Jets.

The Sharks are Puerto Rican and the Jets are an opposing white gang from the same neighborhood. Tony, a former Jets member and best friend of Riff, who is the gang's leader, falls in love with Maria, whose brother Bernardo is the leader of the Sharks.

American actor Warren Beatty and actress Natalie Wood (1938 - 1981) at the Oscars award ceremony in Hollywood (Source: Getty Images)

1961's 'West Side Story' had won 10 Oscars, including best picture. Natalie Wood played the role of Maria in the movie while George Chakiris played the role of Bernardo and won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.


First Look

The first look for ‘West Side Story’ is out. Vanity fair, in a feature on the 1957 Broadway musical adaptation, released new photos that featured Spielberg, Rita Moreno, who plays Valentina in the 2020 adaptation, but who also played, and won an Oscar for playing Anita in 1961 film adaptation of ‘West Side Story’, and Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as the star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria.

Talking about the relevance of the story, Spielberg said, “This story is not only a product of its time, but that time has returned, and it’s returned with a kind of social fury. I really wanted to tell that Puerto Rican, Nuyorican experience of basically the migration to this country and the struggle to make a living, and to have children, and to battle against the obstacles of xenophobia and racial prejudice.”

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