Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom kicks off with a (thrilling) song and dance sequence, but West Side Story is director Steven Spielberg’s first full-length musical. The remake of the 1961 Best Picture winner (one of the 50 best) stars Rachel Zegler as Maria and Ansel Elgort as Tony, the Romeo and Juliet of 1950s New York.
The new trailer (which you can watch above) begins with Maria singing “Tonight,” one of the musical’s many iconic numbers. There’s also “Maria,” “America,” “I Feel Pretty,” “Somewhere,” and my personal favorite, “Gee, Officer Krupke.” Even if you haven’t seen West Side Story, either in a theater or on Broadway, you know at least one of those songs. The cast recording had a strong effect on a young Spielberg.
“West Side Story was actually the first piece of popular music our family ever allowed into the home,” he told Vanity Fair. “I absconded with it — this was the cast album from the 1957 Broadway musical — and just fell completely in love with it as a kid. West Side Story has been that one haunting temptation that I have finally given in to.”
Here’s the official plot summary:
Directed by Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by 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); Rachel Zegler (María); Ariana DeBose (Anita); David Alvarez (Bernardo); Mike Faist (Riff); Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino); Ana Isabelle (Rosalía); Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank); Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke); and Rita Moreno (as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works).
West Side Story opens on December 10.