The Sharks And Jets Are At It Again!

The remake of West Side Story hits theaters on Dec. 10


Grace Wesselhoft and Dorothy Moyer

“Even death won’t part us now.”–West Side Story, One Hand, One Heart, All Together.                                                                        

West Side Story is considered a timeless classic to the audiences of many different ages. It is a story about racial inequality between two very different sides of the tracks in upper New York City. Several people say it shows how racial boundaries in a community can deeply affect the emotions of the people living around these difficult situations. The musical finds itself going through a deep emotional rollercoaster while connecting two star-crossed lovers, who’s different communities say they should not be together. 

The 1961 movie included many incredible actors and actresses, but the main characters are Natalie Wood as Maria, a lonely Hispanic girl of just 16 years old; George Chakiris played Bernardo, who was the leader of the Sharks Gang at only 18. Maria’s closest friend, Anita, is played by Rita Moreno, and Bernardo’s friend, Chino, is played by Jose De Vega. The story is based around a forbidden love between two intimate teens, with two very different backgrounds, allowing them to collide the two worlds in a romantic musical and fall in love. Many people compare West Side Story to present day Romeo and Juliet, that is present in the 60s. 

In the 2021 version of the classical movie musical, Maria is portrayed by Rachel Zegler, who is, now, mainly known for her role in this movie. Tony will be played by Ansel Elgort. Bernardo is presented by David Alvarez, who has been known for his leading role in Broadway’s show of Billy Elliot the Musical. This new version of West Side Story, written by Stephen Spielberg, is slated to be released on Dec. 10, 2021, in area theaters.

Elkhart High School teacher Mrs. Kristin Baker, says, “I was in a version of West Side Story in middle school, and I have seen it several times. My favorite thing about the movie musical is the songs. I love the idea of a remake, and I am excited to see what Steven Spielberg does with the movie. He is a brilliant director. The previews look great!”

West Side Story, the 1961 version, has 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, or 4.5 stars in total. Even though the first musical was loved by many, critics are leary if the movie should be displayed, or shown, again. Some are agreeing with the newfound idea and are saying that a remake of the movie could be better than the original version, due to people playing more acceptable and appropriate roles based off of the character needing to be displayed more currently, compared to its original feature film. Other critics say that the new remake of the musical could have mockery and ridicule not intended for viewers to see, allowing the audience to confide in mixed feelings about the recent idea for the motion picture musical West Side Story

Elkhart High School student Ryann Ottman, a sophomore, says, “I have never personally seen West Side Story, but I’ve heard some of the songs, and I think they’re really good. I like the twist on the old Romeo and Juliet trope that the story takes. I think the remake is a good idea, because it brings in a new, younger audience and let’s the older fans of the musical relive it. I think the movie is rated at least 70% on Rotten Tomatoes, because I’ve heard many different opinions on it. I think the movie might modernize the musical more, just because that’s what I’ve seen in the other musical remakes. I don’t know how I exactly feel about this, but I think that if it’s portrayed in the right way, it will make a really great movie.”

This remake of the movie has already got a lot of attention, and many people are excited to see what Steven Spielberg has brought to the table with this reviving musical.