It may be impossible to top or even match the acclaim of a film adaptation like “West Side Story,” but if anyone deserves the chance to tackle a musically-inspired reimagining of “Romeo and Juliet”, it’s Steven Spielberg. 20th Century Studios has just released the first full-length trailer for the upcoming film which features the highly-anticipated acting debut of Rachel Zegler as Maria, a young Puetro Rican girl who that caught up in a whirlwind romance that involves Tony (Ansel Elgort), an Irishman and member of a rival gang.
As the trailer will show, there will be a lot to look forward to. From the production and costume design to the dance choreography and musical numbers. If anything, Spielberg’s take on “West Side Story” is swinging for the fences. And who knows, it may go as far or even further than that. Considering that the director is once again collaborating with screenwriter Tony Kushner (“Munich,” “Lincoln”). For the musical side of things, the creative team is stacked. Tony Award® winner Justin Peck choreographed the musical numbers in the film, while renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor and GRAMMY Award® winner Gustavo Dudamel helmed the recording of the iconic score. Academy Award-nominated composer and conductor David Newman (“Anastasia”), who arranged the score, and Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (“Fun Home,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie”) supervised the cast on vocals.
Like many of the films that was supposed to hit in 2020, “West Side Story’s” release was impacted by the pandemic, forcing 20th Century Studios to push the release to a later date. Confidentially, 2021 marks the 60th anniversary of the original film’s release.
Here’s the very brief plot synopsis for “West Side Story:”
Directed by Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Tony Kushner, “West Side Story” tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City.
This reimagining of the beloved musical also Ariana DeBose as Anita,David Alvarez as Bernardo, Mike Faist as Riff, Josh Andrés Rivera as Chino, Ana Isabelle as Rosalía, Corey Stoll as Lieutenant Schrank, Brian d’Arcy James as Officer Krupke, and Rita Moreno as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works. Moreno – one of only three artists to be honored with Academy®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, Tony® and Peabody Awards – also serves as one of the film’s executive producers.
“West Side Story” will hit theaters on December 10, 2021.