A new iteration of “West Side Story” has arrived, courtesy of producer and director Steven Spielberg, who worked from a script by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner (“Lincoln”). It’s already picking up awards steam, with critical raves and a spot atop the AFI Top 10 Films of the Year list, and now general audiences across the country are able to see it.
The film has been adapted for the screen from the original 1957 Broadway musical, which was written by Arthur Laurents with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and concept, direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins. Tony Award winner Justin Peck choreographs the musical numbers in the film. Tony Award-winning producer Kevin McCollum and Academy Award-nominated producer Kristie Macosko Krieger also led the production.
The film’s music team includes conductor Gustavo Dudamel; Academy Award-nominated composer and conductor David Newman (“Anastasia”), who arranged the score for the new adaptation; Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (Broadway’s “Fun Home” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie”), who will worked with the cast on vocals; and Grammy-nominated music supervisor Matt Sullivan (“Beauty and the Beast” and “Chicago”), who served as executive music producer for the film.
Is “West Side Story” Streaming?
No, “West Side Story” will be released exclusively in theaters on Dec. 10, 2021. It has not yet been announced when or if the 20th Century Studios film will be streaming on Disney+ or HBO Max in the future, but for now it can only be seen in theaters.
What Is “West Side Story” About?
The story centers around growing tensions between the Sharks, a Puerto Rican gang, and the Jets, a gang made up of “American” boys. The Jets and Sharks leaders represent their respective gangs, and officers Schrank and Krupke police the animosity between the two clans.The gangs attempt to settle their differences on their own, through a fight that may become violent. Enter Maria, who is fated to meet and fall in love with Tony, despite expectations that she marry Chino, who she does not have feelings for. Tony is a Jet, while Maria’s brother Bernardo is a Shark. This conflict remains unknown between Maria, Tony, Bernardo and Bernardo’s girlfriend Anita — who works in a bridal shop with Maria — for some time, as does Maria’s and Tony’s romance — even when Anita discovers what has happened. The tangle of hearts and hands wraps up in the “rumble” between the Sharks and the Jets at the end of the story.
Who Is the “West Side Story” Cast?
The cast includes Rachel Zegler (Maria), Ansel Elgort (Tony), Ariana DeBose (Anita), David Alvarez (Bernardo), Mike Faist (Riff), Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino), Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank), and Brian d’Arcy James (Sergeant Krupke). Rita Moreno, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Anita in the 1961 film version of “West Side Story,” will feature as Valentina, a reconceived and expanded version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store in which Tony works.
Is the Original “West Side Story” Streaming?
The 1961 original film is streaming on Curia and is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Vudu and the Microsoft store. If you are in the U.S., “West Side Story” costs $3.99 to rent on Amazon. The musical proves timeless, as countless theaters — from amateur to professional — stage productions from year to year.