On the night of the Academy Awards we got our first look at director Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story.
The new take on musical drama comes from a screenplay by Tony Kushner and choreography by Justin Peck. The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, which is based loosely on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The film’s screenplay is expected to hew more closely to the Broadway script than to the 1961 film adaptation directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. It stars Rachel Zegler and Ansel Elgort as the film’s leads, alongside Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Corey Stoll and Brian d’Arcy James, as well as Rita Moreno, a star of the original 1961 film, appearing in a supporting role.
The story follows teenagers Tony and Maria, despite having affiliations with rival street gangs, the Jets and Sharks, fall in love in 1950s New York City.
Composer David Newman arranged and adapted Bernstein’s original score for the film. Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted the orchestra during the film’s recording sessions, with Jeanine Tesori serving as vocal coach.
West Side Story was initially scheduled to be released in the United States on December 18, 2020 by 20th Century Studios. In September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parent company Disney delayed the release date to December 10, 2021, which will coincide with the 60th anniversary of the release of the original 1961 film.