Here’s Everything We Know So Far About The New ‘Westside Story’ Actress Rachel Zegler

As we’ve previously reported, a remake of the musical classic and all-around cinematic masterpiece, “West Side Story”, is in the works. And although many of the details are being kept under wraps, we’ve been able to gather tidbits of information about the updated version through press releases, interviews and word-of-mouth.

So, in order to quell our excitement while we wait for the release of this famous Latino-centric story, we’ve compiled 20 of the facts we know so far about the new “West Side Story”.

1. Steven Spielberg Will Be Directing


According to sources, Spielberg has wanted to make a musical for quite a while. The project, which will be produced by Fox, was officially announced in 2014.

2. Rita Moreno Will Be Returning


As we reported before, Puerto Rican queen Rita Moreno will return to the movie that made her a star. This time, she’ll be playing shop owner “Valentina”, a “re-conceived and expanded version of the character of Doc” according to insiders.

3. Moreno will also serve as an Executive Producer


Not one to sit on the sidelines, Moreno will also be involved in the production of the new “West Side Story”. She is reportedly involved as an Executive Producer in this new production. So, this version is guaranteed to be good.

4. Newcomer Rachel Zegler Will Be Playing Maria


Rachel Zegler, a 17-year-old Colombian-American high school student from New Jersey will play the iconic role of Maria. Ironically, Zegler will be reprising the role of Maria–she already played her in her high school’s production of “West Side Story”.

5. Hollywood Heartthrob Ansel Elgort Will Be Playing Tony


Ansel Elgort was the first actor to be announced as part of the new “West Side Story” cast. Interestingly enough, Elgort has already appeared in a production of “West Side Story”–his high school musical!

6. Afro-Latina Actress Ariana DeBose will be playing Anita


Broadway alum and all-around superstar Ariana DeBose will be playing the venerable Anita, a role that made Rita Moreno famous and won her an Oscar. This time, Spielberg is committed to casting actors of Latinx descent–DeBose is of Puerto Rican heritage.

7. David Alvarez will play Bernardo


Canadian actor of Cuban descent, David Alvarez, will be playing Bernardo, Maria’s brother and the leader of The Sharks. Alvarez has an extensive background in musical theater, first appearing in the Broadway production of “Billy Elliot the Musical” when he was only 14.

8. Josh Andrés Rivera will play Chino


Josh Andrés Rivera will play Chino, Maria’s intended husband that, unfortunately, she doesn’t love. Rivera spent the last year as a member of the national touring cast of “Hamilton”. He is of Puerto-Rican heritage.

9. Liam Payne is being considered for a role


Multiple outlets have reported that former One Direction band member, Liam Payne, is in talks to join the “West Side Story” cast as a member of The Jets.

10. The cast is already filled with Tony Award Winners and Nominees


Rita Moreno isn’t the only member of the cast with a Tony under her belt! The actor slated to play Bernardo, David Alvarez, previously won a Tony in 2009 for his portrayal of “Billy Elliot”. Additionally, Ariana DeBose (who will be playing Anita), has previously been nominated for a Tony for her work in “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical”.

11. This has been Spielberg’s passion project for years


As we mentioned before, Spielberg has always been interested in making a musical. Way back in 2011, Spielberg told CNN that he would love to make “an old-fashioned musical”. According to him, he was waiting to find the “right subject matter or the right book or the right music” in order to fully commit. Looks like he found it!

12. Producers held an open casting call in 2018


Last January, a casting notice for the new “West Side Story” went out, specifically seeking Maria, Tony, Bernardo, and Anita. The notice stated that all actors “must be able to sing” with dance experience being “a plus”. Additionally, the Latino actors were required to have Spanish-speaking abilities!

13. The casting call received 30,000 submissions


Sources close to the production revealed that the online casting call for Latinx actors received more than 30,000 submissions. Now that’s a large talent pool!

14. Zegler initially saw the casting notice on Twitter


According to Zegler, she submitted a video of herself singing after seeing the casting call on Twitter. Her audition included herself singing “Tonight” and “Me Siento Hermosa” (“I Feel Pretty”).

15. Celebrated playwright Tony Kushner will be penning the script


Kushner’s is a Tony, Emmy, and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer whose credits include Oscar-winning movies like “Fences” and “Lincoln”. His scripts are renowned for their tragic elements.

16. Rita Moreno was initially “nervous” when she heard about the remake


Before Moreno was involved in the film’s re-make, she was vocally hesitant about the new version. When asked about the re-boot, Moreno admitted that she was “kind of torn about the Kushner aspect of it”. “I get nervous because you can only get just so gritty,” she said. “Then is it the ‘West Side Story’ we know?”. Looks like she changed her mind!

17. Spielberg is in constant dialogue with the University of Puerto Rico


In order to make sure that he’s approaching the newest version of “West Side Story” with knowledge and sensitivity (which the original version could’ve used more of), Spielberg has met with both professors and students at the University of Puerto Rico to “learn more about performing arts on the island”. According to sources, he will remain in “constant dialogue” with them throughout filming.

18. Filming is slated to start in the summer of 2019


Although Deadline confirmed that filming will start this summer, details on the location and the rest of the cast are still under wraps.

19. The new version will touch on “aspects of urban life” that the original didn’t explore


In an interview with Vanity Fair, screenwriter Tony Kushner stated that the newest version of WSS will not be a “straightforward remake” of the original movie. He continued, “there are aspects of urban life in ‘57, ‘58, ‘59 that weren’t touched on in the 1961 movie that we are focusing on”.

20. All of the classic songs will be in the new movie


In the same Vanity Fair interview, Kushner promised that “no one will leave the movie without hearing all the classic songs”. He added that he hoped “people will find a new way to love the story and to love the songs through our interpretation”. We, for one, can’t wait!

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

No Pos Wow

The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

There’s no denying that the world looks a lot different now than it did in 1947. And while the list of all of the positive changes that the decades stretching between now and then have done for the world and minorities, a recent campaign is also highlighting the ways in which our current president could take some notes on certain values the United States held dear during this time. Particularly ones that had been pressed for by one of our former presidents.

As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy” effort, he worked to promote positive and healthy relations between the United States in Latin American countries.

At the time Rooseveltaimed to ensure that the North, Central and South American countries avoided breaking under the influence of Axis countries during World War II. As part of this campaign, Roosevelt comissioned a Spanish and a Portuguese version of the U.S. national anthem. According to Time Magazine he also “recruited Hollywood to participate in this Good Neighbor Policy; Walt Disney went on goodwill tour of South America, hoping to find a new market for his films, and ended up producing two movies inspired by the trip: Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944). The Brazilian star Carmen Miranda also got a boost, and her role in The Gang’s All Here made her even more famous in the U.S. And alongside these cross-cultural exchanges, the U.S. government decided it needed an anthem that could reach Spanish speakers.”

According to NPR, Clotilde Arias, wrote wrote the translation at the end of World War II, was born in the small Peruvian city, Iquitos in 1901 and moved to New York City to become a composer when she was 22-years-old. Her version of the anthem is now part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Now in an effort to support Latino communities affected by the coronavirus, the non-profit We Are All Human Foundation’s Hispanic Star campaign commissioned the a remake of the song.

Hoping to raise awareness of its Hispanic Recovery Plan and efforts to help to connect Hispanic small businesses and workers with resources during the pandemic, the campaign brought the old recording from obscurity.

For the song, the 2019 winner of the singing competition La Voz,  Jeidimar Rijos, performed “El Pendón Estrellado.” Or, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

The song has already received quite a bit of comments and support on Youtube.

Hang in there, fam. We can only get through this together.

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These Online Botanicas Will Satisfy The Bruja In You


These Online Botanicas Will Satisfy The Bruja In You

With young Latinxs reclaiming the bruja identity, the demand for access to novenas, herbs and other specially crafted ritual tools has grown tremendously. Luckily, these Latinx-owned online botanicas have made it easy for brujas, or anyone who wants to dive deeper into the practice, to get their hands on the goods. Whether you’re looking to conjure up more cash flow or secure some extra protection from those pesky mal de ojos, these shops have the magia you need.

1. The Flowerchild Bruja

You know you’ve received some real tesoro when you open your delivery and see the holographic cellophane. Unmistakable and unique products are what make The Flowerchild Bruja’s shop un cielo de flores. Garden Smudge Sticks adorned with colorful flowers and loose herbs packaged in clear hearts make this online botanica a must-visit if you’re looking to manifest more love and beauty into your life.

2. Brooklyn Brujeria

No forlorn-looking saints and pale stricken Marys here! Brookyn Brujeria offers a fresh and modern take on the classic bruja necessity of novena candles. At $10 a candle, you can enhance the vibrations and style of your space without blowing all your chavo. With intentions like Boss Bitch and F*ck Outta Here, these ain’t your abuelitas’ novenas.

3. The Hoodwitch Store

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Thank you for all of your love & support to those who have been readers and customers of @thehoodwitch over the years. ♥️You know truly how hard I work and that this is my livelihood and culture. Visual art and magic ARE my life and practice. Not a peach flavored “turquoise” glitter drink. My magic is in my blood, my magic is in my ability to bring life to my visions, it is creation & destruction. Over the last 6 years, I have been so honored and lucky to be featured in some of the largest media publications internationally not limited to Instagram. This is bigger than that and the creative team for Starbucks knew that. I have personally worked on consulting large companies in their design concepts this work comes naturally to me. “So what’s the big fuss?” My personal style has become synonymous with the visual aesthetic of my brand. No, I absolutely did not “invent” the crystal balls nor acrylic nails but What I created was a space for myself along with other POC to feel represented and have visual imagery that was representative of us. The colorful candles of my local botanicas, my gold jewelry, and my long nails clutching my crystals are certainly not “new” but to see them presented in a manner that I shared visually in this space was. Katherine de Vos Devine @devosdevine is a lawyer and art historian who wrote a powerful and insightful look as to what exactly is happening with this situation and we are sharing it in our story today because more than anything she truly gives the full tea of the situation. I can strip away the crystal balls, the nail art, and delete all of my beautifully curated photos but I will always be me, I will always be my grandmother’s voices and wisdom. I will create, and I will always know my value and my worth. I trust and believe that my ancestors and my guides are looking after me. These giants may have the money to bully artists, creatives, and small business but we know the truth and absolutely must not allow it. As a small business owner, I appreciate you standing with us in this uphill journey and even if it goes nowhere, at the end of the day I can laugh to myself knowing that Starbucks made a drink inspired by HW 🔮

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If you’re in the market for an obsidian scrying mirror, unique tarot decks or nail polish for your mystic manos, then The Hoodwitch Store is your one-stop bruja shop. Be sure to also check out the Bruja Bookshop tab, where you’ll find vintage, one-of-a-kind libros to up your witchy wisdom. The shop offers some rare finds en español as well. However, make sure you stay up to date on the latest inventory. These goods sell out fast!

4. House of Intuition

If you live in LA, you’ve most likely heard of House of Intuition. With four brick and mortar stores throughout the area, plus an online shop, it’s probably a wise investment to grab one of their “Success” intention candles. Their beautifully colored novenas aren’t the only reason to check out the shop, though. Seriously, this casa is staked with everything from crystals skulls, cauldrons and wands to a line called “Hair Mystics” featuring crystal-infused hair mists. You’ll be glad your intuition led you here.  

5. Lunar Magic Shop

Lunar Magic Shop is the super affordable and super thoughtful shop with some of our favorite bruja apparel. You will for sure want to grab the “My Mom Will Hex You” tee for the little one in your life or the “I Am My Own Sacred Place” one for yourself. While you’re at it, you might as well secure the “Motherhood”and “Student” crystal kit bags. This small shop definitely has the whole family’s brujeria needs in mind.

6. Curandera Press

While this shop is currently taking a small hiatus, they will re-launch on August 1. This gives us time to save up for a big vela haul. We could all use some divine intervention with lazy lovers and bad hair days, right? With Curandera Press’ “No Mas Amante Perezoso” and “Good Hair Day” velas, your prayers are answered. We’re excited to see what intentions they roll out next.

Read: In These Trying Times, Boricua Bruja Emilia Ortiz Provides A Digital Space For Healing

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