Tony nominee Mike Faist will take on the role of Riff in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming new film adaptation of West Side Story. The Dear Evan Hansen alum is among several stage favorites newly added to the cast. Also joining are Paloma Garcia-Lee (Broadway’s upcoming Moulin Rouge!, The Great Comet) as Riff’s girlfriend Graziella, Puerto Rican singer and dancer Ana Isabelle as Rosalia, and Dance Moms‘ Maddie Ziegler as a member of the Jets.
The quartet joins previously announced cast members Ansel Elgort as Tony, Rachel Zegler as Maria, Tony nominee Ariana DeBose as Anita, David Alvarez as Bernardo, Josh Andrés Rivera as Chino, Brian d’Arcy James as Officer Krupke, Corey Stoll as Lieutenant Schrank, and EGOT winner and West Side Story Oscar winner Rita Moreno as Valentina (a new take on the musical’s Doc).
“I admire Mike Faist’s work and style so much, and can’t wait to bring this character to life by his side,” Garcia-Lee told Playbill in an exclusive statement. “From my first meeting with Steven it was very clear to me that this is one of those rare instances in life where someone I have idolized beyond his masterpieces saw me in my best light and decided to bring me into his vision.”
The Jets chorus will include Brianna Abruzzo, Kyle Allen, Kyle Coffman, Ben Cook, Harrison Coll, Kevin Csolak, Kellie Drobnick, Julian Elia, Myles Erlick, Leigh-Ann Esty, Sara Esty, John Michael Fiumara, Garett Hawe, Patrick Higgins, Sean Harrison Jones, Eloise Kropp, Lauren Leach, Jess LeProtto, Skye Mattox, Ezra Menas, Adriana Pierce, Brittany Pollack, Daniel Patrick Russell, Talia Ryder, Jonalyn Saxer, and Halli Toland.
Rumbling with them as the Sharks will be David Aviles Morales, Yesenia Ayala, María Alejandra Castillo, Annelise Cepero, Andrei Chagas, Jeanette Delgado, Kelvin Delgado, Gaby Diaz, Yurel Echezarreta, Adriel Flete, Carlos E. Gonzalez, David Guzman, Jacob Guzman, Ana Isabelle, Melody Martí, Ilda Mason, Juliette Feliciano Ortiz, Edriz E. Rosa Pérez, Maria Alexis Rodriguez, Julius Anthony Rubio, Carlos Sánchez Falú, Sebastian Serra , Gabriela Soto, Ricky Ubeda, Tanairi Vazquez, Jamila Velazquez, Isabella Ward, and Ricardo Zayas.
Casting Director Cindy Tolan looked at more than 30,000 performers, making this Spielberg’s broadest casting search since Schindler’s List (1993). For over 50 new cast members, West Side Story will mark their feature film debuts.
The Twentieth Century Fox project (not to be confused with the Ivo van Hove-helmed 2020 Broadway revival), features direction by Spielberg, a script by Angels in America scribe Tony Kushner, and choreography by Justin Peck (who won his Tony Award for 2018’s Carousel and welcomes many of those ensemblists into this cast). The film is expected to begin shooting this summer.
The Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents 1957 Broadway musical was first brought to the big screen in 1961 by director-choreographer Jerome Robbins. The original film won ten Oscars, including Best Picture.