Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner’s adaptation of beloved 1961 musical West Side Story has found a Maria. Seventeen-year-old New Jersey high school student Rachel Zegler, who actually already played Maria in her school production of the musical, will play one half of the doomed lovers, opposite Ansel Elgort, according to Deadline.
"When I played Maria on stage a few summers ago, I never could have imagined that I'd be taking on the role again in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story," Zegler wrote on Instagram. "As a Colombian-American woman growing up in this day and age, strong roles like Maria are so important. To be able to bring that role to life - a role that means so much to the Hispanic community - is so humbling."
Zegler isn’t only the star of her high school’s theater department, she’s also a professional wedding singer with a YouTube channel that boasts 85,000 subscribers. On YouTube, Zegler covers most of your favorite songs. Here she is showing off her impressive range on Golden Globe winner “Shallow” from A Star Is Born.
Zegler is also apparently a Queen fan, going ham on “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
She also sometimes plays the ukele, as seen in her cover of “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” from Disney’s Hercules.
The teenage theater nerd I thought I’d bullied into the deepest recesses of my subconscious screamed at her rendition of “I Can Do Better That That” from The Last Five Years.
And, like all of us, Zegler stans Ariana Grande. Here’s her mashup cover of “breathin” and “One Last Time.”
Zegler joins a cast that includes Ariana DeBose (a Tony nominee for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical) as Anita, Hamilton star Josh Andrés Rivera as Chico, Billy Elliot’s David Alvarez as Bernando and the original Antia Rita Moreno, playing a reimagined version of West Side Story character Doc.
Spielberg’s West Side Story is currently in pre-production and will being filming this summer.