Everything Musical Theatre Fans Need to Know About West Side Story 2021

Everything Musical Theatre Fans Need to Know About West Side Story 2021
West Side Story 2021. Credit: 20th Century
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“Maria! I’ve just met a girl named Maria.” West Side Story fans and newcomers to the classic musical alike will soon have lyrics like these stuck in their heads because, pals, the 2021 iteration of the 1950s Broadway production and 1960s film has finally burst onto the scene.

If you’re desperate to keep across all the jazzy updates on West Side Story 2021, we’ve gone and pulled together a guide to all of it. Let’s dig in, shall we? (Or should I say, 5, 6, 7 8?!)

What’s West Side Story about?

West Side Story 2021. Credit: 20th Century
West Side Story 2021. Credit: 20th Century

The musical production is a reimagining of the Romeo and Juliet story. You know, the whole “star crossed lovers” trope?

Set in 1950s New York, the story centres on rival teenage gangs based in the Upper West Side – The Jets, a white gang led by Riff and the Sharks, a Puerto Rican gang led by Bernardo.

Tony is a former member of the Jets who eventually meets Bernardo’s younger sister Maria at a dance, and well.. all hell breaks loose. Bernardo demands Tony stays away from Maria but the pair fall in love and chaos ensues.

Who is in the 2021 West Side Story film?

Rachel Zegler and Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver) star as Maria and Tony in the new West Side Story production. Ariana DeBose (Hamilton), David Alvarez, Mike Faist (Wilding), Josh Andrés Rivera, Corey Stoll (House of Cards and The Many Saints of Newark), and Brian d’Arcy James (Spotlight) join them in the talented cast lineup.

Rita Moreno, who took home an Oscar for her performance as Anita in the 1961 film, will also appear in the film as Valentina.

The 2021 West Side Story movie has been produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, with the script by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner (Lincoln).

Arthur Laurents wrote the original 1957 Broadway musical, with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim and the concept, direction and choreography led by Jerome Robbins.

Can I see a trailer?

Glad you asked! Yes, you can.

What are people saying about West Side Story 2021?

While West Side Story struggled at the box office, the musical has received universal critical acclaim. Its Rotten Tomatoes score is currently sitting on a very fresh 92%. You can check out a fantastic Twitter thread written by award-winning director Guillermo del Toro where he breaks down a scene and praises Spielberg’s craft.

So far, West Side Story has racked up 159 award nominations. It’s managed to nab seven Academy Awards nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Sound and Best Supporting Actress for Ariana DeBose.

West Side Story has also managed to pick up a few Golden Globe wins for Best Picture (Musical/Comedy), the Best Actress (Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy) award for Rachel Zegler, and the Best Supporting Actress (Motion Picture) award for Ariana DeBose.

Where can I watch West Side Story?

West Side Story 2021
West Side Story 2021. Credit: 20th Century

West Side Story was released in Australian cinemas on December 9, 2021. If you haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet and want to witness Spielberg’s remake on the big screen, it looks like a few select cinemas are still playing it.

If you didn’t catch it at the cinema, or you’re keen on a rewatch, West Side Story is currently streaming on Disney+.

Where can I watch the original movie?

If you’d like to travel back to 1961 and watch the original West Side Story film starring Natalie Wood as Maria and Richard Beymer as Tony, head over to Stan. The film is available to stream there.

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