Jeanine Tesori and Gustavo Dudamel Join Music Staff of Spielberg-Helmed West Side Story Movie

Film & TV News   Jeanine Tesori and Gustavo Dudamel Join Music Staff of Spielberg-Helmed West Side Story Movie
The movie, starring newcomer Rachel Zegler and Ansel Elgort, will premiere in 2020.
Jeanine Tesori and Gustavo Dudamel
Jeanine Tesori and Gustavo Dudamel

Broadway composer and Tony winner Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Caroline, or Change) will serve as vocal coach on the upcoming West Side Story film, and L.A. Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel will conduct the orchestra. Rounding out the film's music team are arranger David Newman (Anastasia) and executive music producer Matthew Rush Sullivan (Chicago, Hairspray, Dreamgirls).

The Steven Spielberg-helmed movie, slated for a December 2020 release, will feature a new screenplay adaptation by Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner. Tony-winning choreographer Justin Peck (Carousel) will provide new choreography.


As previously reported, Ansel Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler will star as star-crossed Tony and Maria, with Tony nominee Ariana DeBose as Anita, David Alvarez as Bernardo, Josh Andrés Rivera as Chino, Tony nominee Brian d’Arcy James as Officer Krupke, Corey Stoll as Lietenant Schrank, and EGOT winner and star of the original film Rita Moreno, who’ll play the newly created Valentina.

A host of Broadway alumni help fill out the cast, including Dear Evan Hansen Tony nominee Mike Faist, Paloma Garcia-Lee, David and Jacob Guzman, Ricky Ubeda, Ben Cook, Sara Esty, Garett Hawe, Tanairi Vazquez, Eloise Kropp, and Jess LeProtto.

West Side Story, an update of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet set on Manhattan's Upper West Side in the 1950s, opened on Broadway in 1957. The show features a score with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, who made his full-length Broadway writing debut with the work. Arthur Laurents penned the book from a concept by Jerome Robbins, who directed and choreographed the production.

Conceived as a blend between musical theatre and ballet, the show was groundbreaking in its use of choreography in storytelling, and virtually created the now-standard of a "triple threat" Broadway ensemble. Though only a modest success in its original Broadway outing, the work has become a cultural touchstone largely thanks to its 1961 Best Picture Oscar–winning film adaptation, which preserved Robbins' stage choreography.

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