Steven Spielberg Names Choreographer for ‘West Side Story’ Adaptation
Spielberg welcomes Justin Peck to the team
Steven Spielberg has chosen his choreographer for the film adaptation of the Broadway Musical “West Side Story”. Justin Peck has joined the production team on the new film, which will be directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
Peck is the Resident Choreographer and soloist dancer with the New York City Ballet and won a Tony Award in 2018 for his choreography in the Broadway revival of “Carousel.” Oscar nominated screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner has written the adaptation of the 1957 musical originally written by Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim with music by Leonard Bernstein, and concept, direction, and choreography by Jerome Robbins.
“This is a total dream-come-true. Getting a chance to work alongside such an illustrious and inspiring team to present a ‘West Side Story’ for today’s audience is something I never imagined I would experience,” said Justin Peck. “The original ‘West Side Story’ was one of the guiding forces that led me to dance in the first place, so I feel very honored on a deeply personal level.”
Justin Peck began choreographing in 2009 at the New York Choreographic Institute. In 2014, after the creation of his acclaimed ballet “Everywhere We Go,” he was appointed as Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet. He is the second person in the institution’s history to hold this title.
He joined New York City Ballet as a dancer in 2006. As a performer, Peck has danced a vast repertoire of works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, Alexei Ratmansky, Benjamin Millepied, Christopher Wheeldon, and many others. In 2013, he was promoted to the rank of Soloist.
Peck has created over 30 ballets – 17 of those for New York City Ballet. His works have been performed by Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, LA Dance Project, Dutch National Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet, to name a few. His collaborators include composers Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner (The National), Dan Deacon, Caroline Shaw, M83; visual artists Shepard Fairey, Marcel Dzama, John Baldessari, and Jules de Balincourt; and fashion designers Mary Katrantzou, Humberto Leon (Kenzo, Opening Ceremony), Tumori Chisato, and Dries Van Noten.
Peck choreographed the 2018 Broadway revival of “Carousel.” The production was directed by Jack O’Brien and stars Jesse Meuller, Joshua Henry & Renée Fleming. That same year, Peck received the Tony Award for best choreography, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography, and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Choreography for his work on the production. Additionally, Peck has danced the role of Bernardo in Robbins’ ballet “West Side Story Suite” and this past spring he choreographed a Leonard Bernstein piece, “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs,” for the New York City Ballet.