Steven Spielberg's new take on Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim's West Side Story streams on Disney+ and HBO Max March 2 in the U.S. The unusual two-platform streaming debut is the result of a legacy agreement between Fox, now owned by Disney, and HBO parent company Warner Media. The film, recently nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, premiered in movie theatres December 10, 2021. (The film had originally been scheduled for release in December 2020 but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.)
Broadway's Ariana DeBose (Hamilton, A Bronx Tale) also received an Oscar nod as Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Anita, just the latest in DeBose's successful awards season that has included Golden Globe and SAG Awards wins, among others.
DeBose is joined in the cast by Ansel Elgort as Tony, Rachel Zegler as Maria, Tony winner David Alvarez (Billy Elliot) as Bernardo, Josh Andrés Rivera as Chino, Tony nominee Brian d’Arcy James as Officer Krupke, Corey Stoll as Lieutenant Schrank, and EGOT winner and star of the original 1961 film Rita Moreno in the newly created role of Valentina (a take on the character of Doc).
A host of Broadway alumni help fill out the cast, including Dear Evan Hansen Tony nominee Mike Faist, Iris Menas, Paloma Garcia-Lee, David and Jacob Guzman, Ricky Ubeda, Ben Cook, Sara Esty, Garett Hawe, Talia Ryder, Tanairi Vazquez, Eloise Kropp, Kevin Csolak, Julius Anthony Rubio, and Jess LeProtto.
Adapted from the Broadway musical with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (who passed away November 26 at the age of 91), the film features a screenplay by Tony and Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Tony Kushner (who also serves as executive producer) that introduces some new plot elements and tinkers with how Bernstein and Sondheim's songs are used in the story. The film also features new choreography by Tony winner Justin Peck.
West Side Story opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre September 26, 1957. It played 732 performances before closing June 27, 1959. Conceived, directed, and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, the original cast included Larry Kert as Tony, Carol Lawrence as Maria, and Chita Rivera as Anita. Robbins won the Tony Award for his choreography, and Oliver Smith took home the prize for Best Scenic Design. It was nominated as Best Musical but lost to The Music Man.
The memorable Bernstein-Sondheim score boasts such tunes as "Tonight," "America," "Maria," "I Feel Pretty," and "Somewhere."
West Side Story released its Original Motion Picture Soundtrack digitally December 3 with a physical release December 10. The digital release includes the movie's 21 songs mastered in Dolby Atmos. The physical version of the album, which includes a vinyl release in early 2022, includes liner notes from the film's music consultant, Oscar-winning film composer John Williams.
West Side Story's music team includes music arranger David Newman, supervising vocal producer Jeanine Tesori, and executive music producer Matt Sullivan, all of whom produce the soundtrack album as well. Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger are executive soundtrack producers.