CMT Mainstage will heat up our summer stage with the passion and power of one of the greatest musicals of all: West Side Story. Shakespeare’s young and idealistic Romeo and Juliet are transported to mid-century New York City, where their forbidden love is caught between warring street gangs, the established local-boy Jets and the interloping Puerto Rican Sharks. The heart-wrenching struggle to survive in an environment of hate, ignorance, violence and prejudice is poignantly represented, in what is still one of the most innovative and relevant musical dramas of our time. The dark themes, sophisticated music, extended dance numbers and focus on social issues of West Side Story marked a turning point in American musical theater. Critics found it “savage, restless and electrifying;” the bold choreography, the gripping tension and the visual excitement combined to create a memorable experience that continues to speak to audiences today.