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TonyFormer joint-leader of the Jets, gone straight. Riff's best friend.
- Anti-Hero: While he's the hero, he has a shady past as part of a gang, and commits a murder during the show, even if it's motivated by his best friend's death.
- Expy: Of Romeo.
- The Hero
- Love at First Sight
- Morality Pet: Is this to Riff. Tony is much more pacifistic and idealistic than Riff, but Riff brings out a knife to fight Bernardo after Bernardo physically harasses Tony, who's trying to break up the rumble. This is almost inverted with Riff's role in regards to Tony: whereas his friendship with Tony humanizes Riff's otherwise rough and unlikable character, Riff's death provokes the normally sweet-tempered Tony to kill Bernardo.
- Say My Name: "Mariaaaaa!"
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Maria.
- Token Good Teammate: Hes the only one of the Jets who doesnt feel oppressed by the Sharks presence.
MariaPuerto Rican ingenue; Bernardo's sister
- Beware the Nice Ones: The sweetest and kindest character in the show, who only wants the gangs to get along, but after everything she has been through, she viciously threatens to shoot down every member of both sides of the gang war. She does however seemingly relent, after Tony's death seems to end the violence between the Sharks and the Jets, and Baby John's personal attempt to comfort her by gently wrapping her in her shawl.
- Break the Cutie: In just one night her brother is killed by her lover and her lover is killed by her unwanted fiancé.
- Expy: Of Juliet.
- The Ingenue
- Love at First Sight
- Sanity Slippage: After Tony's death.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Unlike Juliet, she doesn't die along with her lover and gets to take over the Prince's role of delivering the final "The Reason You Suck" Speech to both sides.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Tony.
RiffQuick-tempered but zany leader of the Jets.
- Expy: Of Mercutio, Romeo's best friend and main Plucky Comic Relief. Also for Montague as the leader of the Jets since Mercutio, as a relative of the Prince of Verona, was a neutral party.
- A Father to His Men: He's hugely respected and admired by the rest of his gang.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Tony. The two have been living together for years and are akin to brothers.
- The Leader: Of the Jets.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Much like the rest of the Jets, he has a prejudice towards the Puerto Rican immigrants and the Sharks.
- Sacrificial Lion: He dies during the duel with Bernardo.
- White Shirt of Death: Wears a white t-shirt to the rumble where he is killed.
Ice/ DieselSecond-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: Hes the tallest of the Jets and their go-to guy for a fist fight.
- 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.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: When news of Chino's plan to kill Tony reaches the Jets, he has the group split up in search of Tony and get him to safety instead of getting back at the Sharks.
- 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).
ActionThe most quick-tempered member of the Jets, always ready for a fight.
- Berserk Button: Don't insult his mother, or call him a hoodlum.
- Blood Knight: "In, out, let's get crackin'!"
- Dude, Where's My Reward?: When Riff decides that Tony is to be his lieutenant for the war council, as opposed to Action. Especially since Tony is rarely with the gang anymore.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: As evidenced by his reaction when Shrank taunts him about her being a prostitute.
- Expy: Of Sampson, the brash, boastful Montague retainer.
- Give Me a Sword: Hands a knife to Riff during the knife fight with Bernardo.
- Jerkass: Action is by far one of the most belligerent and angry of the Jets, and one of the hardest to get along with.
- The Lancer: To Riff, especially in the stage show.
- Parental Issues: His mother is a prostitute.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He begins the Attempted Rape that causes Anita to deliberately mix up the message, leading directly to Tonys demise.
A-RabSlightly less quick-tempered than Action. Baby John's best friend.
- Berserk Button: Don't mention his father, and don't pick on Baby John.
- Expy Of Abraham.
- Parental Issues: Schrank taunts him by mentioning that his father is an alcoholic.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Baby John. He picks on him as much as the rest of the gang, however, he also shares a moment of vulnerability with him as both of them are horrified by Riff and Bernardo's death during the rumble.
Baby JohnThe 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.
- Butt-Monkey: Given that he's the youngest of the Jets, the other
- 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.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Nerd Glasses: Many production describe him as bespectacled. This is Adapted Out of the film where none of the gang members on either side wear glasses.
- Ascended Extra: The film gives him a larger presence and more lines compared to the stage show where he's just an ensemble member. For example, he pretends to be Krupke for Gee Officer Krupke and restrains Tony during Riffs duel with Bernardo.
GraziellaRiff's girlfriend (Ice / Diesel's girlfriend in some productions).
- Break the Cutie: She's understandably heartbroken after Riff is killed.
VelmaIce's girlfriend (Riff's girlfriend in some productions)
- Dumb Blonde: Epitomizes this.
MinnieBaby John's girlfriend.
AnybodysA 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.
- Boyish Short Hair: In the film and most stage productions.
- Dark and Troubled Past: It's all but outright stated in the film that her sister is a prostitute.
- Deconstruction: Of the scrappy tomboyish type character. Anybodys's entire character revolves around wanting to be one of the boys, and she seems eager to challenge them to fights and argue with them, and eventually it seems like she starting to get accepted... then in the film and most productions, the Jets try to rape Anita, and Anybodys, while looking disturbed, simply stands by as another woman is almost assaulted. This throws a wrench in her being seen as any kind of proto-feminist character. Some productions make it better by having her try to stop them and finally be the one to go get Doc, though.
- Expy: Of Balthazar.
- Limited Wardrobe: The only outfit Anybodys wears during the film is a light blue long-sleeve t-shirt with yellow sleeves and a pair of blue jeans, even during the Dance scene where everybody else dresses up.
- One of the Boys: She tries her best to be one, but none of the Jets really want her around. It isn't until she actually helps them find Tony that they treat her as one of them.
- The Lad-ette: Dresses and acts like one of the boys.
BernardoMaria's brother, leader of the Sharks.
- Accidental Murder: During the rumble, Riff runs into his knife, killing him.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Anita, their bickering and sensuality contrasting with Tony and Maria's innocent Romeo and Juliet-style romance.
- Expy: Of Tybalt primarily, and Capulet to a lesser extent as he's the leader of the Sharks and even tries to decide who Maria marries.
- Hypocrite: Resents the Jets and the authorities racist attitude, but isnt the most inclusive sort either, as shown when he arranges Marias marriage and his own intolerant behavior towards Tony.
- Knight Templar Big Brother: He's fiercely protective over Maria, to the point he has her confined to her apartment and job.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After stabbing Riff during the rumble, Bernardo is left stunned in horror.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Taken to Extremes when it comes to Tony.
ChinoMaria's unassuming but secretly hot-tempered suitor, Bernardo's best friend. Kills Tony.
- 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, as Marias intended.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Wears a pink shirt to the dance.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Chinos counterpart in the original Romeo and Juliet is killed by Romeo before Romeos suicide. Here, Chino is arrested after killing Tony.
PepeSecond-in-command of the Sharks.
- Mandatory Line: Literally speaks one word in the entire stage show.
AnitaSaucy 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.
- Hypocrite: In the song A Boy Like That, Anita says A boy who kills does not love, a boy who kills has no heart. She seems to have forgotten that Bernardo killed Riff, so going by her logic, Bernardo has no heart either.
- It's possible that Anita doesn't know at the time that Bernardo killed Riff; presumably one of the Sharks told her, but they may have omitted Bernardo killing Riff so as to spare her the pain of knowing that her boyfriend himself had killed someone before dying. Chino didn't tell Maria that Bernardo had killed Riff either.
- 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.
RosaliaArgues with Anita in "America"; Indio's girlfriend.
DocA 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
Detective SchrankA racist police lieutenant.
- Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop
- The Bad Guys Are Cops
- Dirty Cop: More than willing to deliver a beating to the gang members if they don't stop their fighting.
- Enemy Mine: If theres anything the Jets and Sharks can agree to do, its to make fun of Schrank.
- Expy: Of Prince Escalus.
- Hypocrite: Bigoted towards the Sharks and the Jets given their immigrant status when he's undoubtedly the descendant of immigrants himself.
- Jerkass: Hes unpleasant to talk to at the very least.
- Jerkass Has a Point: As much as he's a corrupt racist, he has a point regarding the fact that the gang conflict will negatively impact his own career.
- His response towards Doc's disdain of him indicates that years of dealing with gangs have left him jaded and cynical, a sentiment that anyone, particularly those in "do-gooder" professions (medicine, law, education, etc.) can empathize with.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Displays racism towards the Sharks. And the Jets too, referring to their families as "tin-horn immigrant scum".
- Rabid Cop
Officer KrupkeAn aggressive but inept cop.
Glad HandThe inept chaperone at the dance.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: He actually tries to get the gangs (and their girls) to interact. This goes down poorly.