Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is casting up with over 40 performers set as Sharks and Jets, the rival street gangs at the center of the musical’s timeless love story. Leading the Jets as Riff will be Mike Faist, who is best known for originating roles in the Broadway productions of Dear Evan Hansen and Newsies. Also, Puerto Rican singer and dancer Ana Isabelle will play Rosalia, who works with Maria (played by newcomer Rachel Zegler). Dance Moms alum Maddie Ziegler has also been cast as part of the Jets.
Previously announced players include Rita Moreno (Valentina), Ansel Elgort (Tony), Ariana DeBose (Anita), David Alvarez (Bernardo), Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino), Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank), and Brian dʼArcy James (Sergeant Krupke).
Spielberg’s team conducted a wide search for performers, many with no on-camera experience, to bring together a cast with a range of musical theater experience. Filming is slated to begin this summer.
The Sharks and Jets appear in several of West Side Story’s most iconic song and dance scenes, including “Cool,” “America,” “Gee, Officer Krupke,” “Jet Song” and “I Feel Pretty.” Justin Peck will choreograph the numbers in the film.
“One of our largest priorities was to find a caliber of triple-threats who could bring this film to life with great proficiency,” said Peck. “West Side Story has influenced generations of dancers since its inception, and I am thrilled that we have found this extraordinary group to bring our new vision for the musical to the big screen.”
In addition to Faist and Ziegler, the Jets chorus includes Brianna Abruzzo, Kyle Allen, Kyle Coffman, Ben Cook, Harrison Coll, Kevin Csolak, Kellie Drobnick, Julian Elia, Myles Erlick, Leigh-Ann Esty, Sara Esty, John Michael Fiumara, Paloma Garcia-Lee, Garett Hawe, Patrick Higgins, Sean Harrison Jones, Eloise Kropp, Lauren Leach, Jess LeProtto, Skye Mattox, Ezra Menas, Adriana Pierce, Brittany Pollack, Daniel Patrick Russell, Talia Ryder, Jonalyn Saxer, and Halli Toland.
Rounding out the members of the Sharks are David Aviles Morales, Yesenia Ayala, María Alejandra Castillo, Annelise Cepero, Andrei Chagas, Jeanette Delgado, Kelvin Delgado, Gaby Diaz, Yurel Echezarreta, Adriel Flete, Carlos E. Gonzalez, David Guzman, Jacob Guzman, Ana Isabelle, Melody Martí, Ilda Mason, Juliette Feliciano Ortiz, Edriz E. Rosa Pérez, Maria Alexis Rodriguez, Julius Anthony Rubio, Carlos Sánchez Falú, Sebastian Serra , Gabriela Soto, Ricky Ubeda, Tanairi Vazquez, Jamila Velazquez, Isabella Ward, and Ricardo Zayas.
Spielberg is producing and directing this latest rendition of West Side Story for 20th Century Fox. Oscar nominee and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner is adapting the screenplay 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. Producers are Tony Award nominee Kevin McCollum and Oscar nominee Kristie Macosko Krieger.