Spielberg's West Side Story Holds Open Casting Call in New York

20th Century Fox is holding an open casting call in New York for Steven Spielberg's musical West Side Story. The original stage musical West Side Story, a story about warring gangs in 1950s New York and loose retelling of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, premiered on Broadway in 1957 and was adapted into a Best Picture Oscar-winning movie four years later. Spielberg has expressed an interest in remaking/re-adapating the musical for the big screen in recent years and even sent out a casting call for the movie's leads back in January.

Tony Kushner, who also wrote Munich and Lincoln for Spielberg, is actively working on the script for West Side Story. Spielberg, meanwhile, is currently planning to start production on the as-yet untitled Indiana Jones 5 in early 2019 and set to work on his musical remake right after. Given the demanding nature of West Side Story's many iconic song and dance numbers, any film version will require an extended amount of pre-production and preparation from the cast and crew. For that reason, Spielberg is putting together the movie's cast now, well over a year before he intends to roll camera.

Related: Spielberg is Developing DC's Blackhawk Movie

Fox has announced that an open casting call for West Side Story's five lead characters (Maria, Anita, Bernardo, Tony, and Riff) will take place this weekend on Sunday, April 29, in New York. Those auditioning will need to be between 15-25 years old and should have a strong background in musical performance (as well as dance, preferably). Here are the exact details from Fox's casting call:

Sunday, April 29, 20189:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.Julia De Burgos Performance and Arts Center1680 Lexington AvenueNew York, NY 10029

Sign-in begins at 9:00 a.m. Please prepare a short cut (16 bars) of a classic musical theatre song and bring sheet music. An accompanist will be provided. Please also bring a recent photo and resume with contact information stapled back-to-back to leave behind. If you cannot attend this open call, please email a video of yourself singing with your headshot, resume and contact information to

There will also be a casting call in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, May 5, 2018. Contacts: Kristin Stark (Amblin Partners) 818-733-9685

West Side Story is set specifically in New York's Upper West Side and revolves around the warring Puerto Rican gang The Sharks and white gang The Jets. Trouble rears its ugly head when Tony, a former member of the Jets who remains best friends with their leader Riff, falls in love with Maria, the sister of The Sharks' leader Bernardo (who is currently dating Anita). The musical further features a book by Arthur Laurents, as well as music and lyrics by the musical theater icons Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, respectively.

As well as the 1961 movie version of West Side Story holds up, there are some obvious ways in which Spielberg's take can improve on it. For one, Spielberg's film can avoid the whitewashing casting of the 1961 version, and has no excuse to do otherwise. Spielberg's West Side Story also has the benefit of several decades of hindsight and can take a more deconstructive approach with its portrayal of race relations in 1950s New York. Combine that with a legendary director who is arguably a better craftsman than ever now, and this re-telling of West Side Story may yet prove to be the rare remake of a classic done right.

MORE: Spielberg Has 4 Different Movies in Development

We will continue to keep you updated on West Side Story's development as more information is made available.

Source: 20th Century Fox [via Coming Soon]

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