Steven Spielberg has kept good on his promise to fill the cast of his upcoming West Side Story remake with Latinx actors. According to Deadline, 17-year-old Colombian-American Rachel Zegler would take on the iconic role of Maria in his adaptation of the Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim musical. Zegler joins Ariana DeBose as Anita, David Alvarez as Bernardo, and Josh Andrés Rivera as Chino, all members or associated to members of the Puerto Rican gang the Sharks. This is exciting news, considering the 1961 film adaptation had actors of white European descent playing some of the major Puerto Rican characters. Also exciting is the inclusion of Rachel Zegler specifically, as she is a relatively unknown actress who recently became a viral Twitter sensation for her take on Lady Gaga’s “Shallow” from A Star Is Born.
someone: you use autotune😤😤😤😤— rachel zegler (she/her/hers) (@rachelzegler) December 14, 2018
The New Jersey high school student also has a pretty impressive YouTube channel, where she records videos of herself singing famous tunes. She currently has 82,000 subscribers (expect that number to go way up) and dozens of videos that show off her impressive soprano voice and beautiful range. A number of the videos also detail the life of a theater kid, showing her rehearsals for appearances in The Little Mermaid and…Â West Side Story! Here’s a peek at her singing “A Boy Like That/I Have a Love” as Maria.
According to another video on her channel, Zegler’s vocal range goes from a D flat 3 to an F 6, which, if you know music, is pretty insane. In the same video, she talks about her roles in musicals like Fiddler on the Roof, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Les Miserables, and notes that her favorite acting performance was as Maria, a role that we’re sure is about to become even more dear to her.If you’d like a taste of Zegler’s impressive voice, here are some of our favorites from her YouTube channel.
“The Audition (Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land.
“Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song),” a folk song that was recently popularized by the Coen Brothers movie, Inside Llewyn Davis.
“Satisfied” from Hamilton.
“On My Own” from Les Miserables.
And her full take on Gaga’s “Shallow.”
Zegler will play Maria opposite Ansel Elgort‘s Tony in the star-crossed musical romance. In case you didn’t know, Elgort is also a super talented singer. Here he is singing Lionel Richie’s “Easy” on The Late Late Show with James Corden.
We can’t wait to hear these two voices melt together when Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is released in 2020.
Header Image: Rachel Zegler/YouTube