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Steven Spielberg Says He’s Done Directing Musicals After ‘West Side Story’

However, the Oscar winner said he will produce several upcoming musicals, including an adaptation of "The Color Purple."

WEST SIDE STORY, center: Ariana DeBose, 2021. ph: Niko Tavernise / © 20th Century Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection

“West Side Story”

©20th Century Studios/Courtesy Everett Collection

Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of “West Side Story” has earned rave reviews and plenty of Oscar buzz, with fans and critics praising Spielberg’s technical mastery and ability to make the 60-year-old musical feel relevant today. It’s one of Spielberg’s biggest directorial successes in recent memory, but don’t expect the director to helm more Broadway classics anytime soon.

Variety has reported that Spielberg spoke at a PGA Awards breakfast on Saturday, where he was nominated for “West Side Story.” And while he had nothing but good things to say about his experience directing the film, he said it will be his only musical as a director.

For decades, Spielberg has spoken about his desire to direct a musical, citing it as the only genre he hadn’t tackled in a career that included everything from “Jurassic Park” to “Schindler’s List.” It appears that “West Side Story” definitively scratched that itch for him, although he’s already set his sights on another classic genre.

“Over the last 40 years of my career, if not longer, I always said a musical was the one thing I haven’t done,” Spielberg said in a 2021 interview with Yahoo. “The thing I neglected to say, which I’ve never done, and the one genre that I haven’t really tackled yet, is the Western. So, who knows, maybe I’ll be putting on spurs someday.” He then added that he has “a few in development right now, but who’s to say which one will spring to the forefront.”

Still, Spielberg has not completely closed the door on musicals. He said on Saturday that he has plans to produce several musicals in the future, starting with the upcoming “The Color Purple.” That film, which is set to star Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks, is based on the Broadway musical that was adapted from the 1985 film that Spielberg directed.

“West Side Story” is nominated for seven Oscars, with Spielberg picking up two nods for Best Picture and Best Director. Ariana DeBose is up for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, the film’s only acting nomination. The film is also nominated in the Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design, and Sound categories.

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