West Side Story Cast: Where You’ve Seen The 2021 Movie’s Actors Before And What They’re Up To Now

Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as Tony and Maria in West Side Story Tonight balcony scene
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Steven Spielberg’s version of West Side Story has been a long time in the making, but it comes with plenty of amazing casting choices, beautiful set design, and wonderful music. With all the amazing West Side Story reviews that it received, the movie is destined to be remembered, and, in my opinion, will end up becoming another classic. 

And, with such a talented cast, you must have seen the actors somewhere before. If faces might look a little familiar, it’s for good reason. From veterans of the Broadway stage, to performers just starting out, and an original cast member from the 1961 movie, the West Side Story cast is full of stars. Here is where you might have seen them before, and what they’re up to now. 

Ansel Elgort in West Side Story.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Ansel Elgort (Tony) 

Ansel Elgort played Tony in West Side Story.He has been in the business for a little under a decade now, and has only continued to expand his repertoire of films.

Since 2013, Elgort has had roles in several movies, such as the 2013 Stephen King adaptation ofCarrie, the romantic drama, The Fault in Our Stars, played a major role in the Divergent movie series, and had the main role in the action thriller, Baby Driver. Elgort also had roles in movies like Billionaire Boys Club, The Goldfinch and more. 

Elgort hasn’t done much in the movie business since West Side Story, but he did star in the show Tokyo Vice, which was renewed for a second season and finished production before the 2023 WGA Strike, according to Variety.  

Rachel Zeglar in West Side Story.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Rachel Zegler (Maria) 

Maria is the lovely leading lady of West Side Story, and she is portrayed by Rachel Zegler. Originally, she made strides on YouTube by posting videos of her singing, but now, this is her first major movie role, showing just how much of a talent she is. 

After her role in West Side Story, Zegler has appeared in Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and will appear in the upcoming The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Zegler is also poised to play the live-action Snow White in the new  adaptation of the classic fairytale, Snow White. 

Zegler will appear in three other films – the upcoming comedy Y2K, Spellbound, and Paddington in Peru. 

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Ariana DeBose (Anita)

Anita is the best friend of Maria, and the girlfriend of Bernardo, and is played by the lovely Ariana DeBose. The actress is a talented woman both on stage and off, and has shown the world not only with her wonderful acting talents, but her vocal ones, as well. For her role in West Side Story, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and was the first person of color and LGBTQ+ origin to do so in a historic win. 

DeBose starred in several musicals, including Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, A Bronx Tale, and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. But soon, she transitioned her career from stage to screen. She starred in the Ryan Murphy musical The Prom on Netflix in 2020, and was a part of Schmigadoon! cast in both Season 1 and Season 2. 

DeBose will appear next in animated form when she voices Asha in the upcoming Disney film, Wish. Aside from that, DeBose will appear in several new movies called Poolman, Argylle, House of Spoils and Kraven the Hunter.  

David Alvarez in West Side Story.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

David Alvarez (Bernardo)

Bernardo, the brother of Maria and the boyfriend of Anita, was played by David Alvarez. The actor gained acclaim for his portrayal of Billy Elliot in the titular musical, Billy Elliot the Musical, and then also went on to star in On the Town. 

For some time while he worked in theater, Alvarez actually joined the U.S. Army. Afterwards, he returned to theater, and then moved his career to television, playing Isaac English in American Rust on Showtime. West Side Story was Alvarez’s first ever big movie role. Afterwards, he appeared in a small film short called The Stamp Collector, but he’s going to appear in a new series called Étoile

Mike Faist in West Side Story.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Mike Faist (Riff)

For every Tony, there must be a Riff, and he was played by Mike Faist in West Side Story. Faist, like many of his other castmates, made his strides on Broadway, originating the role of Connor Murphy in Dear Evan Hansen, and playing the part of Morris Delancey in Newsies. 

However, he also moved his career to movies as well, appearing in several films, such as the drama/coming of age movie The Unspeakable Act, the tragedy The Grief of Others, and the horror fantasy, Wildling. Faist has also had some success in television as well, playing Dodge Mason in the Amazon original series, Panic, with a couple of guest roles on TV, as well. 

Coming up, Faist will appear in the Austin Butler-led film The Bikeriders, as well as the sports romance Challengers alongside Zendaya and Josh O’Conner.  

Rita Moreno in West Side Story.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Rita Moreno (Valentina) 

If you’re seeing that name and wondering why on earth it looks so familiar, that’s because it should be. There are many great Rita Moreno movies and TV shows, and she actually played Anita in the original 1961 West Side Story, winning an Academy Award for her role. After that, Moreno went on to have a long and successful career. 

She's appeared in a variety of movies, such as the comedy-drama, Carnal Knowledge, alongside Jack Nicholson, the romantic drama, The Four Seasons, the cult film, Slums of Beverly Hills, and many, many others. She’s also had bigger roles in television as well, including her part in the HBO original series, Oz, voicing the titular character of Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, playing the matriarch of the main family in One Day at a Time on Netflix, and had a main role in the sitcom, Happily Divorced. 

Truly, she’s a master of her craft, and it’s so lovely to see her return to this world of West Side Story. While she’s not playing Anita, I love seeing her as Valentina. She’s since had a guest starring role on Lopez vs. Lopez, and was in the films 80 For Brady, The Prank, My Father’s Dragon and Fast X. She’ll next appear in a movie called Family Switch.   

Brian d’Arcy James in West Side Story.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke)

You gotta love Officer Krupke, always trying to keep the peace as best he can. In West Side Story, Office Krupke was played by Brian d’Arcy James, another veteran from Broadway who has taken his career to the big and small screen. 

In theater, James has had major roles in Shrek the Musical (playing the titular character), Something Rotten!, Hamilton, Into the Woods and more. In film, he appeared in movies such as Friends with Kids, Spotlight, Sisters, Molly’s Game, First Man, and Dark Phoenix.

On television, he had a major role on the Netflix original series, 13 Reasons Why for two seasons, and played Frank Houston on Smash. D’Arcy continued his trend with television with an appearance in Evil, one of the best Paramount Plus shows, and was a part of the Love & Death cast. He also appeared in the film Devil’s Peak. He’ll appear in a new movie called Pain, as well as She Came To Me. 

Corey Stoll in West Side Story.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank) 

The partner to Office Krupke, Lieutenant Schrank, was played by Corey Stoll in West Side Story. Stoll has made strides in the television industry, having major roles in several big-time shows. These include, but are not limited to, playing Congressman Peter Russo in House of Cards, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather on the FX drama/horror series, The Strain, Michael Prince on the one of the best Showtime series, Billions, having a main role on Law & Order: LA, and many guest appearances. 

Stoll has also had a pretty prominent acting career in movies. He played Darren Cross in Ant-Man for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a role he also reprised in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. He also had roles in Midnight in Paris, Black Mass, First Man, and the HBO original movie, The Many Saints of Newark. 

He also held a recurring role on the series Transatlantic, and will appear in the upcoming Rebel Moon: Part One – A Child of Fire. 

Chino in West Side Story.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Josh Andres Rivera (Chino) 

Poor Chino is the under-appreciated soul of West Side Story who was supposed to be Maria’s perfect match, but ended up getting lost in all the fuss about Tony. Chino was played by Josh Andres Rivera, who (like Rachel Zeglar herself) is also a newcomer to Hollywood. 

West Side Story was Rivera’s first major screen role. He will appear in Cat Person and will also appear in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. He is currently dating his co-star, Rachel Zegler, where they have been in films more than once together.  

Anybodys in West Side Story.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Iris Menas (Anybodys)

Anybodys was a character in the original film that I didn’t quite understand when I was younger, but now it makes so much sense, and that character was perfectly portrayed in West Side Story by Iris Menas, a young non-binary performer who had their first big movie role with this musical. 

Menas has been in other projects before, including a main role in Ridley Jones, and a voice role in Madagascar: A Little Wild. They also had a voice role in the Monster High animated series, and held a voice role in Ridley Jones. They were a part of the cast of web series musical Way Down as well.  

West Side Story was certainly one of the best 2021 movies, in my opinion, and that’s thanks to this brilliant cast and their amazing acting, along with the wonderful director. And now, we can look forward to what these actors have coming up – maybe they’ll even appear on the 2023 movie schedule and 2024 movie schedule.  

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.