BY BILLY SUTER
REMEMBER young Maddie Ziegler, star of TV’s Dance Moms which ran from 2011 to 2016? Well, hot news is that the 16-year-old has been chosen to join the cast of Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic Oscar-winning musical, West Side Story.
Award-winning dancer Maddie, whose fame on Dance Moms led to her being the featured dancer on the promo videos for the Sia hits Chandelier and Elastic Heart, has been cast as a member of the Jets gang in the new film, which is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Maddie, who is dancing, modelling and writing books these days, currently has 12 million Instagram followers. She was a guest judge on the 2016 season of So You Think You Can Dance, subtitled The Next Generation. She also featured alongside Naomi Watts in the 2017 movie, The Book of Henry.
The original West Side Story, choreographed and directed by Jerome Robbins, won 10 Oscars in 1961, including that for Best Picture.
The West Side Story remake will feature a screenplay by Tony Kushner, who wrote the the play Angels in America, and choreography by Justin Peck, who received a Tony Award for 2018’s Carousel.
The new movie, filming for which starts soon in the US, stars Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as leads Tony and Maria, members of rival New York gangs whose love leads to animosity and tragedy.
Tony Award-nominee Ariana DeBose has been cast as Anita, David Alvarez as Bernardo, Josh Andrés Rivera as Chino, Brian d’Arcy James as Officer Krupke, Corey Stoll as Lt Schrank and West Side Story Oscar-winner Rita Moreno as Valentina, a new take on the musical’s Doc.
The new movie will also star Mike Faist, star of the hit stage musical Dear Evan Hansen, as Riff, the leader of the Sharks gang.
Other newly announced cast members, reports Playbill, are Paloma Garcia-Lee (of Broadway’s upcoming Moulin Rouge!) as Riff’s girlfriend Graziella and Puerto Rican singer and dancer Ana Isabelle as Rosalia.
The Jets chorus will reportedly 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.
Playbill reports that The Sharks will comprise 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, 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.