We received a copy of Disney and 20th Century Studios’ WEST SIDE STORY for review. All opinions are my own.
You can read our full review and see the West Side Story Parents Guide here
Directed by Academy Award® Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Tony Kushner, “West Side Story” tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City. This reimagining of the beloved musical stars Ansel Elgort (Tony); Ariana DeBose (Anita); David Alvarez (Bernardo); Mike Faist (Riff); Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke); Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank); Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino); with Rita Moreno (as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works); and introducing Rachel Zegler (Maria.) Moreno – one of only three artists to be honored with Academy®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, Tony® and Peabody Awards – also serves as one of the film’s executive producers.
Bringing together the best of both Broadway and Hollywood, the film’s creative team includes Kushner, who also served as an executive producer; Tony Award® winner Justin Peck, who choreographed the musical numbers in the film; renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor and GRAMMY Award® winner Gustavo Dudamel, who helmed the recording of the iconic score; Academy Award®-nominated composer and conductor David Newman (“Anastasia”), who arranged the score, Tony Award®-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (“Fun Home,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie”), who supervised the cast on vocals; and GRAMMY®-nominated music supervisor Matt Sullivan (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Chicago”), who serves as executive music producer for the film. The film is produced by Spielberg, p.g.a., Academy Award®-nominated producer Kristie Macosko Krieger, p.g.a. and Tony Award®-winning producer Kevin McCollum. “West Side Story” has been adapted for the screen from the original 1957 Broadway show. Original choreography by Jerome Robbins, based on the stage play, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, play conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, music by Leonard Bernstein.
The Stories of West Side Story
- Opening – Director Steven Spielberg begins the journey of one of his career goals – to direct his own cinematic version of the iconic musical. Doing so means he will embrace enormous challenges.
- Prologue – From the iconic finger snaps to the complex choreography, we are introduced to the film’s opening scene and explore its setting. We begin to see Spielberg’s vision take shape.
- Sharks & Jets – Meet the actors who play the Sharks and the Jets. Go behind the scenes of “La Borinqueña,” the song of the Puerto Rican Revolution, which was added into this vision of the story. Discover the deeper meaning of “Jet Song.”
- Dance At The Gym – Mambo your way through “The Dance At The Gym” and Justin Peck’s choreography, as it leads to the pivotal moment when Tony and Maria meet for the first time.
- The Romance – Explore the budding romance of Tony and Maria with the songs “Maria” and “Tonight” as Rachel Zegler (Maria) and Ansel Elgort (Tony) talk about the casting process, and what led them to this career-defining film.
- America – During a sweltering New York heat wave, the cast and crew take the production to the streets for one of the biggest dance numbers in the film, “America,” featuring Ariana DeBose, who plays Anita.
- Gee, Officer Krupke – Spielberg and the Jets make “Gee, Officer Krupke” their own through a new setting, vocal direction and choreography, while they explore the meaning of Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics. Get to know Iris Menas (Anybodys) and the significance of their role.
- Cool – During the first week of production, Spielberg and the cast nervously jump into filming on the elaborate and challenging set of the musical number “Cool.”
- From Quintet to The Rumble – Spielberg and his team navigate the intertwining scenes of “The Quintet” and “The Rumble.” Once there, they take a scene that is traditionally stylishly choreographed, and instead bring a more visceral authenticity to the fight between the two gangs.
- I Feel Pretty – Screenwriter Tony Kushner sheds new light on “I Feel Pretty.” We see how, in Spielberg’s film, the beloved song by lyricist Stephen Sondheim is given new vision, as it is set and performed within Gimbel’s department store.
- Somewhere – Hollywood Legend Rita Moreno, who won acclaim for playing Anita in the 1961 film, returns as Valentina, a shopkeeper’s widow, as well as an executive producer. She brings extraordinary experience and emotion to the film and sings the song “Somewhere.”
- Finale – In a moving testament to the talented cast and crew of WEST SIDE STORY, Spielberg reluctantly wraps “one of the best filmmaking experiences” of his career.
- Tribute – The late Stephen Sondheim reflects on his career and experience making WEST SIDE STORY in this dedication to the esteemed lyricist.
- Go directly to your favorite musical numbers from WEST SIDE STORY.
- La Borinqueña
- Jet Song
- Something’s Coming
- The Dance At The Gym
- Balcony Scene (Tonight)
- Gee, Officer Krupke
- One Hand, One Heart
- Tonight (Quintet)
- The Rumble
- I Feel Pretty
- A Boy Like That/I Have A Love