There’s a place for…a new TV tease meant to capitalize on the Olympics platform.
That would seem to be the primary motivation behind throwing together this “new” one-minute Special Look at Steven Spielberg‘s adaptation of West Side Story. In truth, it’s actually not that special as it mostly recycles footage we first saw in the trailer that debuted during the Oscars.
The best new feature is that it’s all set to the slower, star-crossed ballad “Somewhere,” a duet between Tony and Maria (the story’s Romeo & Juliet), the teen lovers in 1950s New York who, as White and Puerto Rican respectively, are torn apart by the warring ethnic rival gangs to which their families and friends belong. Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver, The Fault in Our Stars) and newcomer Rachel Zegler star.
Interestingly, the brief vocal heard here is by Rita Moreno. The legendary actress won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress playing Anita in 1961’s Best Picture version of West Side Story. Here, Moreno returns as Valentina, a reimagined take on the drugstore owner Doc (and Tony’s boss). She also serves as an executive producer.
Leonard Bernstein’s original music was arranged by David Newman (Anastasia), which you get a strong sense of here, and it’s conducted by Los Angeles Philharmonic maestro Gustavo Dudamel. Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Caroline or Change) served as the cast’s vocal coach.
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