Watch Rachel Zegler’s West Side Story audition as she makes film debut

Darcy Rafter December 1, 2021
Watch Rachel Zegler’s West Side Story audition as she makes film debut
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for 20th Century Studios

Rachel Zegler is set to play Maria in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story so let’s find out what audition tape she used to land the role of Maria.

Of the 30,000 people who auditioned for the remake of West Side Story, Zegler won the sought-after role of Maria. The original 1961 classic starred Natalie Wood and Zegler is bringing the role to life again in the 2021 movie.

Zegler joins well-known Broadway star Ariana DeBose, who will play Anita. DeBose previously starred as Donna Summer in the Donna Summer Biographical Musical.

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Rachel Zegler’s West Side Story audition tape

After seeing a casting call on Twitter asking for Latino and Latina actors, Zegler applied for the role aged 16. She then responded to the casting call tweets with videos of her singing two songs from the movie – Tonight and I Feel Pretty.

Who is Rachel Zegler?

Rachel Zegler is a 20-year-old American actor and singer-songwriter from New Jersey, who will debut in the cinema remake of West Side Story.

She will feature in the Bernstein musical as Maria alongside Fault In Our Stars actor Ansel Elgort as Tony. And, although she doesn’t have a long list of credits in the film industry, Rachel is no stranger to West Side Story.

She played the role of Maria at the Bergen Performing Arts Centre while at school. When she wasn’t working on a new production at the performing arts school she spent her days as a part-time wedding singer.

Where you know Rachel Zegler from

If you think you recognise Zegler, that’s because you’ve probably seen a viral video in which she sings Lady Gaga’s song Shallow from A Star Is Born. In 2018 the video got more than seven million views on Twitter, which helped her to boost her YouTube subscriber numbers immensely.

Rachel’s YouTube channels bio states: “Welcome to the life of a theatrical mess named Rachel Zegler. I am incredibly infatuated with theatre, musicals, and the people who help them to happen! Follow me around as I show you how much I love what I do, and how I manage to do it all while juggling my entire life.”

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Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story

Outstanding reactions to the film are spreading after its official premiere at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles. The premiere came just days after composer Stephen Sondheim’s death on 26 November 2021. Sondheim wrote the lyrics for the original production and sadly passed away at the age of 91. 

Thankfully, the composer was able to watch the movie before the official premiere and praised it on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

Talking about Spielberg and Kushner’s movie, Sondheim said: “(They have) done some really imaginative and surprising things with the way the songs are used in the story, and the whole thing has real sparkle to it and real energy – it feels fresh. It’s really first grade. Movie musicals are hard to do and this one, Spielberg and Kushner really, really nailed it.”

Fans react to West Side Story

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Darcy is an experienced journalist passionate about celebrity culture and entertainment. After gaining a degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University she has also become a social media specialist, always keeping informed on the latest trends. With almost five years of experience in media, her expertise is analysing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. When she's not tracking the latest trending content, she’s watching films and eating lots of chocolate.