The Key Roles For ‘West Side Story’ Have Been Cast And Maria Is Being Played By A Latina
Broadway and “West Side Story” fans have been waiting for the announcement of who will be playing the key roles in Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic. The wait is over and we now know who will be on the big screen as Maria, Anita, Bernardo, and Chino. Everyone can rest easy because all of the actors taking up these roles are, in fact, Latino giving the remake a little more authenticity than the original. Ansel Elgort will play Tony. Here’s what we know so far.
High school senior Rachel Zegler landed the lead role of Maria.
According to Deadline, Spielberg was intentional in making sure the everyone cast in the movie was Latino or Latina to showcase the talent within the Latino community.
Zegler shared her excitement on Twitter because who wouldn’t be excited to be cast as Maria.
it’s official! so thankful to have the opportunity to work with one of my favorite directors and this incredible cast! and to be able to learn from the best (and one of my icons) @TheRitaMoreno is just BEYOND. surreal! https://t.co/qHLTRMWWOU
— rachel zegler (@rachelzegler) January 14, 2019
“I am so thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Maria alongside this amazing cast,” Zegler told Deadline. “West Side Story was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community.”
Broadway veteran and powerhouse Ariana DeBose will play Anita.
The Puerto Rican performer first made a name for herself on “So You Think You Can Dance” when she made it to the Top 20 in 2009. Since then, DeBose has been performing for theaters around the country and even performed in an off-Broadway production of “Hamilton.”
Oh, and Rita Moreno will be there to “pass the baton” to the new Maria.
— Ariana DeBose (@ArianaDeBose) January 15, 2019
Can you even believe it? Moreno is going to be in Spielberg’s “West Side Story” in the role of Valentina. Valentina will be a more expanded version of Doc who owns the store that Tony works in.
Tony Award winner David Alvarez has been cast as Bernardo, Maria’s cousin.
The military veteran won his Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in “Billy Elliott: The Musical”. He told Deadline that he sees the same struggle in Bernardo as he does in his family who fled Cuba for the U.S. and has dreamt of filling this role.
Jose Andrés Rivera is going to be playing Chino.
The Puerto Rican dancer, singer, and actor is most known for his recent participation on the last national Hamilton tour.
There is no release date for the movie yet but it is expected to start filming this summer.