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When Jerome Robbins called Leonard Bernstein in the winter of 1949 with the idea of modernizing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with Jewish Montagues and Catholic Capulets, something didn’t click. It wasn’t until Bernstein came up with the idea of using rival Puerto Rican and American street gangs that their West Side Story suddenly sprang to life. By today’s standards, WSS seems almost quaint, with its singing juvenile delinquents and choreographed knife scene. Then-rookie lyricist Stephen Sondheim cut his teeth working with composer Bernstein on songs including “Somewhere,” “America,” and of course “Maria.” If you’ve only seen the poorly lip-synced film version, you owe it to yourself to see director Kevin
Backstrom’s live version. One word of warning, though: If you’re going to sing-along to “I Feel Pretty,” please keep it to a dull roar. At 8 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday & Sunday at Wolf Trap Filene Center, 1624 Trap Rd., Vienna. $16-42. (703) 255-1860. (Dan Avery)