something good

There’s a Few Places for Us to Watch, Read, and Listen to West Side Story

Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by United Artists and Walt Disney Studios

Oh, something’s coming, and it’s shaping up to be something good. Steven Spielberg’s long-COVID-delayed turn at a musical is finally debuting this week. Spielberg and Tony Kushner’s take on the beloved West Side Story is already getting praise for its refreshing twists, touching homages, and actually having a Latin-led cast, which, I mean … took long enough. So while you may be anticipating the new West Side Story — there’s no need to play it cool — we’ve chased down every possible way to see and experience West Side Story in all shapes and forms for you right here.

So we’re all watching West Side Story (2021) in theaters, right?

Hell yeah. I’m so ready to sit my butt down in a theater seat as Steven Spielberg’s vibrant film lights up a huuuuge screen and Rachel Zegler exquisitely sings “I Feel Pretty” like the Disney princess she is (well, will be). It’s also the only way you can see it, unless you’re patient enough — or need to be cautious enough — to wait until it hits VOD platforms, which, judging by most Disney movie releases, may be about three months post-release.

But before that, where can I watch 1961’s original West Side Story?

The first time Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, and Stephen Sondheim’s work was realized on the big screen was with Robert Wise’s (and Robbin’s) 1961 film. Robbins’s entrancing choreography and Wise’s direction translated into a stunning musical film, and paired with Bernstein and Sondheim’s beautiful songs, it was cemented as the ever-beloved classic it is today. The film’s brownface and lack of actual Puerto Rican actors have rightfully complicated its standing, but the 50-year-old West Side Story is one to learn from and still stands as a dazzling musical triumph worth watching (or rewatching) if you care to. Currently, the film is only available to rent or purchase. A rental is $3.99, while purchasing costs you $14.99 on Amazon and iTunes.

Can I watch any of the Broadway productions?

Oh, I wish. Since West Side Story’s Broadway debut in 1957, the musical has been revived multiple times, though none of the performances are readily available to watch in full. has a few scattered West Side Story clips from different productions and promo videos, and I’m sure you can find more on YouTube, but your best bet for a cohesive experience is to listen to the Broadway cast recordings of each show. The original 1957 West Side Story cast soundtrack is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and other music platforms.

Cool, I thiiiiink I’ve got my fill of West Side Story now

Oh no, we’re not done yet. There are a lot more ways to consume West Side Story. You can watch, listen, and even read about the shows and films. Honestly, the following is a perfect gift guide for the West Side Story fanatic in your life, so take some notes. A nice companion to Spielberg’s upcoming remake is, of course, Laurent Bouzereau’s literal companion book chronicling every part of the production process for the 2021 film. There are many similar books for the 1961 West Side Story as well, if that film is more your cup of tea, including song books of Bernstein and Sondheim’s musical work on the film.

Nice, well, thanks for this.

No problem, but also, how about you wait to thank us until after you’ve watched this.

Now, you’re absolutely welcome.

How to Watch, Read, and Listen to All the West Side Story