The musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The members of the Sharks from Puerto Rico are taunted by the Jets, a Polish-American working-class group.
Riff: The quick-tempered but zany leader of the Jets.
Tony: The story’s leading man. The former joint-leader of the Jets, gone straight. Riff’s best friend and Maria’s love interest.
Ice: The second-in-command of the Jets. (Ice was not part of the original stage production. He was a character created for the movie, but has been adopted in later stage productions.)
Action: The most quick-tempered member of the Jets and always ready for a fight.
A-Rab: Best friends with Baby John. He is slightly less quick tempered than Action.
Baby John: The youngest Jet who is beaten up during the opening sequence. He is A-Rab’s best friend.
Other Jets: Snowboy, Joyboy, Big Deal, Tiger, Mouthpiece, Gee-Tar
Bernardo: Maria’s brother and the leader of the Sharks.
Chino: Maria’s hot-tempered suitor and Bernardo’s best friend.
Pepe: The second-in-command of the Sharks.
Other Sharks: Indio, Loco, Jauno, Luiz, Rocco/Anxious, Toro, Nibbles/Del Campo, Chile
Grazielle: Riff’s girlfriend (Ice’s girlfriend in some productions).
Velma: Ice’s girlfriend (Riff’s girlfriend in some productions).
Minnie: Baby John’s girlfriend
Clarice: Action’s girlfriend
Pauline: A-Rab’s girlfriend
Anybodys: A tag-along tomboy who the guys exclude but is eventually accepted into the gang as the story progresses
Maria: The story’s leading lady. Bernardo’s sister and Tony’s love interest.
Anita: The saucy friend of Maria and girlfriend of Bernardo.
Rosalia: Indio’s girlfriend.
Consuela: Pepe’s girlfriend.
Other Sharks: Francisca, Teresita, Estella, Margarita
Find out which character you are by taking this quiz: http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/2pytx0M/What-West-Side-Story-character-are-you
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