Ariana DeBose, who earned a Tony nomination for her most recent Broadway outing as Donna Summer in Summer, will play Anita, while Billy Elliot Tony winner David Alvarez and Hamilton tour alum josh Andrés Rivera will take on the roles of Bernardo and Chino, respectively.
Newcomer Rachel Zegler, a 17-year-old from New Jersey, has been tapped to take on the coveted role of Maria following a nationwide search, according to Deadline. She’ll star opposite the previously reported Ansel Elgort as Tony.
The cast will also include Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for her performance as Anita in the 1962 film based on the classic musical. The stage and screen legend is set to play Valentina, a new take on the show's character Doc.
Director Spielberg and casting director Cindy Tolan set out to find a cast that included members of both the Puerto Rican and larger Latinx communities (DeBose and Rivera have Puerto Rican backgrounds; Alvarez and Zegler are Cuban- and Colombian-American, respectively). "I’m so happy that we’ve assembled a cast that reflects the astonishing depth of talent in America’s multifaceted Hispanic community," said Spielberg in a statement.
The film, which will feature choreography by Justin Peck, is expected to begin filming this summer.
Zegler is no stranger to the show, having played Maria in a New Jersey production for The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC. Watch a clip from her YouTube channel (which also includes several self-recorded pop and musical theatre covers) below.