Yep, That's Really the Cast of West Side Story Singing the Movie's Iconic Songs
In old-school movie musicals, the convention was to dub over movie actors lip-syncing with more capable singers during the musical moments. Even iconic movie musicals like the original West Side Story went in this direction, with most lead actors partially or totally dubbed. This has us wondering about the 2021 West Side Story remake: Are these new actors actually singing, or are they dubbed like their predecessors?
A quick glance at the movie's soundtrack reveals that the main actors are all, in fact, doing their own singing. In a way, it's not too surprising: Almost every member of the main cast has a history in live musical theatre, and there are two Tony Award winners and two Tony nominees among them. Keep reading for a quick breakdown of which cast members you can expect to hear singing the musical's classic songs — and where you might have heard them singing before!
Is Rachel Zegler Really Singing in West Side Story?
You'd better believe it! While the original movie's Maria, Natalie Wood, was dubbed by Marni Nixon in the 1961 film, Rachel Zegler sings all of her own songs as the new Maria. A lifelong theatre kid, Zegler famously auditioned for Maria when a friend sent her a link to an open casting call. She submitted a self-tape singing "I Feel Pretty," and the rest, as she told Town and Country, is history!
Is Ansel Elgort Really Singing in West Side Story?
Like his co-star Zegler has done with Maria, Ansel Elgort is switching things up from how the role of Tony was previously played on screen. In the 1961 version, Richard Beymer's voice was dubbed by Jimmy Bryant for all the songs, but Elgort is doing his own singing in the remake. He's sung on screen before in shorter pieces, including this "Riff-Off" bit with James Corden and Jamie Foxx.
Is Ariana DeBose Really Singing in West Side Story?
The Tony-nominated breakout star is definitely singing for real in her role as Anita! Ariana DeBose is a major rising star in the theatre world, first gaining notice for her role as the Bullet in Hamilton, before she moved into leading lady territory with A Bronx Tale and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (she even earned a Tony nomination for the latter). You might also recognize her from her roles in the Netflix adaptation of The Prom or Apple TV+'s Schmigadoon!
Is David Alvarez Really Singing in West Side Story?
The role of Bernardo is more of a dance-heavy role than a singing-heavy one, but actor David Alvarez is more than prepared for both. He's one of two Tony winners in the movie's cast, having won a Tony alongside Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish in 2009 for his work on the musical Billy Elliot. He definitely sounds a little different now than he did twelve years ago, but it really is him singing!
Is Mike Faist Really Singing in West Side Story?
Another West Side Story cast member, another Tony nominee! Mike Faist, who plays Riff, is more than capable of pulling off the iconic "Jet Song" and "Cool." He's a theatre vet who made his Broadway debut in Newsies, then earned a Tony nomination as part of the original cast of Dear Evan Hansen.
Is Rita Moreno Really Singing in West Side Story?
You don't hire EGOT winner and absolute legend Rita Moreno for West Side Story and not have her sing! Moreno did some (but not all) of her own singing in the 1961 film, for which she won an Oscar for her role of Anita. This time around, she's playing Valentina, a new character for the new film who is the widow of Doc, the drugstore owner, and she gets to sing one of the musical's most iconic songs.