20th Century Fox has shared the first image of Tony Award-nominated actress, dancer, and singer Ariana DeBose in the role of Anita in Steven Spielberg’s new adaptation of the musical West Side Story. The iconic filmmaker has been working on a new West Side Story for years now, and production is currently underway on what’s being described as a direct adaptation of the original 1957 Broadway musical—not a remake of the Robert Wise-directed 1961 film. Lincoln and Angels in America writer Tony Kushner penned the script for this new version, which retains the 1957 setting and iconic songs.
The role of Anita is an integral one. The story of West Side Story explores young love and tensions between two gangs on the streets of New York City—the white American Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. Loyalties are tested when Maria (Rachel Zegler), the young sister of Shark leader Bernardo, falls in love with the Jets-affiliated Tony (Ansel Elgort). Anita is Bernardo’s girlfriend and Maria’s closest confidante.
In the 1961 film, Rita Moreno spectacularly filled the role of Anita and ended up winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Moreno actually has a new role in Spielberg’s version, playing a character named Valentina.
DeBose first broke out on the TV series So You Think You Can Dance and had roles on Broadway in shows like Motown, Hamilton, and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.
Spielberg is shooting West Side Story on the streets of New York City at the moment, but we still have a long wait until we see what the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s first musical looks like. The movie doesn’t hit theaters until December 18, 2020, so for now, check out Ariana DeBose as Anita below.