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"West Side Story" - a heartfelt, New York City-centric updating of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by a 26-year-old Stephen Sondheim - was first performed on Broadway in 1957.
"As a colombian-american woman growing up in this day and age, strong roles like maria are so important.to be able to bring that role to life- a role that means so much to the hispanic community- is so humbling. i hope you're all as excited as i am".
'I am so thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Maria alongside this fantastic cast, ' Rachel said in a statement to Deadline.
Moreno will play Valentina in Spielberg's film - once again a retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, set in NY and centred on rival gangs The Jets and the Sharks.
Oscar victor Moreno is set to appear in Spielberg's remake, but she won't be reprising the role of Bernardo's girlfriend, Anita.
Ansel Elgort will play Tony in the remake of West Side Story. (The Jets are the other.) According to Deadline, Zegler first saw the casting call notice in January 2018, and submitted a video of her singing two songs from the show: "Tonight" and "Me Siento Hermosa" ("I Feel Pretty").
The fresh-faced cast will join Rita Moreno, playing a new character named Valentina 57 years after the actress took home an Oscar for the role of Anita in the 1961 West Side Story film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. Broadway veteran Ariana DeBose has been cast as Anita and David Alvarez as Bernardo.
The role of Maria was originally played by Hollywood star Natalie Wood. Needless to say, she is extremely talented and it's easy to see how she earned the part.
This is her back in 2015 singing "The Wizard and I" from Wicked and yes it was filmed on a phone vertically but you won't care when she hits that key change!
Spielberg's adaptation of the film is set to start production this summer.