Film & TV News'Tonight': Steven Spielberg-Directed West Side Story Arrives in Cinemas Nationwide December 10Featuring an adaptation by Tony Kushner, the cast is headed by Rachel Zegler, Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, and David Alvarez.
December 10, 2021
Steven Spielberg’s long-awaited film adaptation of the classic 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story hits movie theatres nationwide December 10 following a screening at Jazz at Lincoln Center November 29, which marked the film's New York City premiere. (The film had originally been scheduled for release in December 2020 but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.)
The cast is headed by Ansel Elgort as Tony, Rachel Zegler as Maria, Tony nominee Ariana DeBose as Anita, Tony winner David Alvarez 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) and choreography by Tony winner Justin Peck.
The first teaser trailer debuted during the 93rd annual Academy Awards earlier this year, with a special introduction by Tony nominee DeBose. A longer trailer offered a listen to Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's "Tonight," as performed by Zegler as Maria. A third trailer offered sneak peeks at “Mambo” and “America.”
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 subsequently toured and had a run at London's Majesty Theatre in 1958. It played a brief return engagement on Broadway in fall 1960. The original motion picture, directed by Robbins and Robert Wise, was released in 1961 and starred Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer, and Moreno. The film won ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, out of its 11 nominated categories.
The first New York City revival of the musical opened April 8, 1964, at New York City Center by the New York City Center Light Opera Company. A Broadway revival opened at the Minskoff Theatre February 14, 1980, directed and choreographed by Robbins with the assistance of Tom Abbott and Lee Becker Theodore. Subsequent Broadway revivals were seen in 2009 and 2020, directed by, respectively, librettist Laurents and Ivo van Hove. The 2020 revival opened a few weeks before the pandemic closed theatres around the world and announced in August it would not reopen on Broadway.
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, include 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.