DeBose, a Broadway alum, is taking on the iconic role made famous by Rita Moreno and Chita Rivera.

By Eliza Thompson
July 16, 2019 12:10 PM

The new West Side Story movie is finally coming together, and there’s a new photo to prove it. Earlier this week, 20th Century Fox shared the first look at Ariana DeBose as Anita, best friend of Maria and arguably the coolest member of the Sharks. DeBose, who is of Puerto Rican descent, has appeared on Broadway in Hamilton, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, Pippin and A Bronx Tale, and was also a contest on So You Think Can Dance. After the photo came out, DeBose tweeted that she was “over the moon” about working on the movie.

Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the 1961 film version of West Side Story (and won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance), has described DeBose as “wonderfully talented” and says she is a “ferocious dancer in the most wonderful way.” Moreno is an executive producer on the new movie and will play the character Valentina, a role created for this adaptation that’s partly inspired by Doc from the original Broadway production.

Last month, the studio shared a cast photo featuring Ansel Elgort as Tony and Rachel Zegler as Maria. The new edition of West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg, is set to hit theaters in December 2020. Next year will also see the release of the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, so if you’re a fan of movie musicals, then you’re in luck.

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