Dancer Maddie Ziegler joins Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ cast

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Maddie Ziegler is dusting off her leather jacket and dance moves to join Steven Spielberg’s next film. The Dance Moms alum has officially signed on to portray a member of the Jets gang in Spielberg’s upcoming “West Side Story” remake.

The 16-year-old rose to prominence after dancing in several of Sia’s music videos and will be joined by Tony nominee Mike Faist (Dear Evan Hansen) in the cast.

Faist will play Riff, the leader of the Jets, and will star opposite Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver), who is set to portray the male lead, Tony. Newcomer Rachel Zegler will play Maria and Puerto Rican singer and actress Ana Isabelle  will play her friend Rosalia.

Romeo and Juliet influence

Inspired by Williams Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, “West Side Story” centres on the rivalry between young street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks.

The film follows the romance of Tonyand Maria, young New Yorkers who fall in love in spite of their rival gang affiliations. The 1961 film adaptation won 10 Oscars, including Best Supporting Actress for Rita Moreno, Best Picture and Best Director.

The musical originally opened on Broadway in the 1950s to decent success, and is an update of Romeo and Juliet.

Tony was once a member of the Jets, and remains best friends with the gang’s leader, while Maria is the younger sister of the leader of rival gang, the SharksSteven will be directing and producing the musical adaption, which also stars House Of Cards actor Corey Stoll.