Characters / West Side Story

    open/close all folders 


Former joint-leader of the Jets, gone straight. Riff's best friend.


Puerto Rican ingenue; Bernardo's sister

    The Jets 


Quick-tempered but zany leader of the Jets.

Ice/ Diesel

Second-in-command of the Jets. Ice was a character created for the movie, but has been adopted in later stage productions. Takes over as leader after Riff's death.
  • Ascended Extra: Has a few lines in the stage show and a decent amount of stage-time, but he's a lot more prominent in the movie, to the point where he has what is effectively his own solo.
  • The Big Guy
  • Canon Immigrant: Originally was in the movie, but was popular enough to add in later theatre productions.
  • The Lancer: To Riff after Tony left the gang.
  • Meaningful Name: He's probably the most level-headed of the group.
  • Token Good Teammate: Was not among the Jets who try Attempted Rape on Anita, though that could simply be because he wasn't there at the time (he'd gone to make sure none of the Sharks were on the prowl for Tony).


The most quick-tempered member of the Jets, always ready for a fight.


Slightly less quick-tempered than Action. Baby John's best friend.
  • Expy Of Abraham.
  • Parental Issues: Schrank taunts him by mentioning that his father is an alcoholic.

Baby John

The youngest Jet, who is beaten up during the opening sequence. A-Rab's best friend.
  • Attempted Rape: The Jets' assault on Anita culminates with them picking up Baby John and trying to force him on her. Most productions make him just as traumatized by this as Anita.
  • Comforting Comforter: At the end, he places the grieving Maria's dropped shawl back around her shoulders while the other boys are carrying Tony's body.
  • Tender Tears: In the film, in his first reappearance after the deaths of Riff and Bernardo.
  • Token Good Teammate: As the most naive and inexperienced of the gang, it's obvious he goes along with what they do mostly because he succumbs to peer pressure.



Big Deal


  • Ascended Extra: The film gives him a larger presence and more lines compared to the stage show where he's just an ensemble member.



The Girls


Riff's girlfriend (Ice / Diesel's girlfriend in some productions).


Ice's girlfriend (Riff's girlfriend in some productions)


Baby John's girlfriend.


Action's girlfriend.


A-Rab's girlfriend.


A tagalong tomboy, eventually accepted into the gang after Riff's death. According to the stage directions, she falls in love with Action, though some modern productions play her as a butch lesbian or even a trans boy instead.

    The Sharks 


Maria's brother, leader of the Sharks.


Maria's unassuming but secretly hot-tempered suitor, Bernardo's best friend. Kills Tony.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Questionable as to whether his motive to kill Tony is driven by the latter's relationship with Maria, Tony's murder of Chino's best friend Bernardo, or a mixture of both. Can depend on the production.
  • Anti-Villain: To an extent. While he spends the second act trying to and eventually managing to kill Tony, he's got an understandable motive in that Tony has murdered his best friend and is in a relationship with his fiancee.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The script's stage directions describe him as "a gentle, sweet-faced boy," but after Tony kills Bernardo and after Chino realizes that Maria is in love with Tony, he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge with lethal results.
  • Expy: Of Paris.


Second-in-command of the Sharks.







Nibbles/Del Campo


The Girls


Saucy friend of Maria and girlfriend of Bernardo.

  • Age Lift: Inverted: while Juliet's Nurse is an adult caregiver, Anita is a teenage friend only slightly older than Maria and dating her brother.
  • Attempted Rape: She suffers this at the Jets's hands while trying to take a message from Maria to Tony, leading to her lying in anger that Maria is dead instead.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Bernardo, their bickering and sensuality contrasting with Tony and Maria's innocent Romeo and Juliet-style romance.
  • Beta Couple: With Bernardo.
  • Break the Cutie: In just one night her boyfriend is killed and she herself is almost raped.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Expy: Of the Nurse and Lady Capulet.
  • Spicy Latina
  • What the Hell, Hero?: To Maria, in "A Boy Like That", when she sees that Maria has both Easily Forgiven and slept with Tony after Bernardo's murder. Maria's rebuttal "I Have a Love" brings her around to her side, but it doesn't last.


Argues with Anita in "America"; Indio's girlfriend.


Pepe's girlfriend.


Loco's girlfriend.


Jauno's girlfriend.


Luiz's girlfriend.


Toro's girlfriend.

    The Adults 

Officer Krupke

An aggressive but inept cop.


A weary old candy store owner.
  • Expy: Of Friar Laurence, and partly of Balthasar too, since he's the one who breaks the news to Tony of Maria's "death".
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Tony. Tony works for him, but it's also clear that they're buddies.
  • Only Sane Man

Glad Hand

The inept chaperone at the dance.

Detective Schrank

A racist police lieutenant.