Brow Beat

Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story Has Found Its Maria, and Her Voice Is Incredible

Deadline has some major casting news about Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of West Side Story. Almost a year after a casting call went out seeking young Latino and Latina performers, we now know who those performers will be:

• Ariana DeBose, whose Broadway credits include starring roles in A Bronx Tale and the Donna Summer musical, will play Anita.

• David Alvarez, who won a Tony Award for Billy Elliot when he was just 15 before serving in the U.S. Army, will play Bernardo.

• Josh Andrés Rivera, who appeared in the first national tour of Hamilton, will play Chino.

• Rachel Zegler, a 17-year-old student from New Jersey, has earned the coveted starring role of Maria.

They join Ansel Elgort, who will play Tony, and Rita Moreno, who will assume a new part written specifically for the remake, Valentina. Tony Kushner is penning the script. Zegler’s casting is the most exciting of the bunch, considering she’s a relative unknown.

Zegler reportedly saw the casting notice and sent in videos of herself singing “Tonight” and “Me Siento Hermosa” (“I Feel Pretty” in Spanish). On her YouTube channel, Zegler sings covers of Broadway tunes, pop songs, and classic rock. Here’s are a few worth checking out. There’s also a clip of her performing as Maria in a regional production of West Side Story at Bergen Performing Arts Center, in case you want a preview of what we can expect on the big screen. (Spoiler alert if you aren’t already familiar with the end of West Side Story.)

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