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West Side Story at the Orpheum

If you’ve never seen rival gangs bust out the jazz hands at a dance-off to prove their turf dominion, you really need to check out West Side Story. (This kind of thing definitely doesn’t go down on The Wire.) A revival of the hoodlum-rumbling, game-changing 1957 musical about a lower-class Romeo and a Puerto Rican Juliet in New York City comes to San Francisco with all the verve - if not quite the shock - of the original.


Electric dancing and what is widely considered one of the best musical scores ever written, this version of West Side Story blends nuances of Shakespeare with lines spoken in Spanish, lending depth to the tinges of racism and territorial feuding. With show-stealing performers and some impressive moments on balconies and in flaring mambo skirts, this is Broadway with the blood and danger pumped up. At least as far as one can pump up blood and danger while wearing jazz shoes.
 
Through November 28. Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market St. Tickets are $30-99 at 888-746-1799.