A pretty cool event happened this Friday in Lodi, NJ. The students at Immaculate Conception High School were treated to a special screening of the 2021 version of the movie West Side Story.

New York Premiere Of West Side Story
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 29: (L-R) Ariana DeBose, Steven Spielberg, and Rachel Zegler attend the New York premiere of West Side Story on November 29, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for 20th Century Studios)
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The movie stars Rachel Zegler as the lead character Maria. Rachel graduated from Immaculate Conception in 2019. The movie is a remake or as they say in Hollywood re-imaged from the 1961 movie West Side Story that starred Rita Moreno and Natalie Wood.

Disney Studios' Los Angeles Premiere Of "West Side Story" - Arrivals
Getty Images
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The new release is directed by super star director Steven Spielberg and 1961-star Rita Moreno makes an appearance in the film as the character Valentina.

Immaculate Conception High School in Montclair
Immaculate Conception High School (Google Street View)
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This is a big Hollywood production and it’s great that the filmmakers and producers would allow the film to be shown at Immaculate Conception. The students appreciated the screening and poured lots of applause for their famous alumni.

Disney Studios' Los Angeles Premiere Of "West Side Story" - Arrivals
Getty Images
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She had that Jersey “never give up” attitude that landed her the coveted role in the movie. She didn’t have an agent and made a couple of tapes herself and sent them in, working hard on her delivery. Many auditions and callbacks later she finally got the word that she got the part.

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 14: Steven Spielberg attends "The BFG (Le Bon Gros Geant - Le BGG)" premiere during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 14, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
Steven Spielberg Festivals on May 14, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
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With the guidance of Steven Spielberg, she finally landed an agent halfway through filming. Something tells me that agent will enjoy landing many roles to come for the talented 20-year-old Rachel.

West Side Story Los Angeles Premiere
Getty Images for 20th Century St
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The film is now playing in movie theatres throughout the country and once again we applaud the talents of New Jersey’s own. Congratulations Rachel, continued success. Support one of our own and check out the movie.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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