To successfully revive a modern classic musical such as "West Side Story" for the 21st century, you need more than melodic voices and inspired choreography. You need the elusive ingredient of attitude — an "us vs. them" mentality that pervades the production.
Thankfully, all three elements are present in abundance in the current incarnation of the landmark musical now in residence at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. The show virtually bubbles over in attitude, establishing a conflict early on that will lead quite naturally to tragic consequences.
As directed initially by Arthur Laurents, who wrote the show's original book, and later by David Saint after Laurents' death just four months ago, this touring production throbs with vitality, from the moment the Jets and Sharks taunt each other on the street to the murderous rumble scene which closes the first act and the heart-rending "Romeo and Juliet"-inspired finale.