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Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ has Maddie Ziegler, Mike Faist and More as Sharks and Jets

April 17, 2019
3 min read

Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of ‘West Side Story’ has Broadway and TV dance stars as the new Sharks and Jets. The cast members include Broadway star Mike Faist as Riff, the leader of the Jet gang and Maddie Ziegler as a member of the Jets. Puerto Rican singer and dancer Ana Isabelle plays Rosalia, who works with Maria, played by the debutante Rachel Zegler. Maddie Ziegler is known for ‘Dance Moms’ and a series of Sia music videos. Faist is a promising star appeared in the Broadway productions ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and ‘Newsies.’ Corey Stoll and Brian dʼArcy James have been added to the cast earlier. Stoll plays Lieutenant Schrank, the NYC detective and James is Sergeant Krupke, the cop who keeps a watch in the areas of the warring street gangs.

As the remake of the original 1957 Broadway musical, Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ centers on the rival street gangs, Sharks and Jets. The gangs appear in a number of ‘West Side Story’s’ songs and dance numbers which include ‘Cool,’ ‘America,’ ‘Gee,’ ‘Officer Krupke,’ ‘Jet Song,’ and ‘I Feel Pretty.’ Moreno plays Valentina, a revised version of the character called Doc in the original. The other cast members include Ansel Elgort (Tony), Ariana DeBose (Anita), David Alvarez (Bernardo), and Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino). According to reports, Spielberg and his team conducted extensive talent hunt campaigns to find the right performers without any on-camera experience for each role. Most of the selected candidates are performers with musical thereat experience.

‘One of our largest priorities was to find a caliber of triple-threats who could bring this film to life with great proficiency,’ Justin Peck who choreographs the numbers in the film is quoted as saying in a Deadline report. ‘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,’ he added.

According to a Variety report, casting director Cindy Tolan conducted auditions of over 30,000 performers. Open casting calls were announced in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and San Juan. ‘West Side Story’ also marks the feature film debut of more than 50 cast members filtered through the extensive casting process.

Faist and Ziegler lead the Jet gang which 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.

On the othr hand, members of the Sharks gang has 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.

The latest version of the popular Broadway musical is directed and produced by Spielberg for 20th Century Fox. Oscar nominee and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner adapted the screenplay from the 1957 musical. The original was written by Arthur Laurents with Leonard Bernstein served as the composer. Stephen Sondheim was the lyricist of the musical which was conceived, directed and choreographed Jerome Robbins. Variety reports that Steven Spielberg starts filming for the musical remake in the summer of 2019.

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