Director Ken Gray Scolari has done a terrific job putting together an excellent cast to assay this modern version of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” The occasional sour note is forgiven because of the raw emotion of delivery.

Standout duets and ensemble work are the strong suits in this production. Laura Darrell, as Maria, creates effortless beauty with every note she sings. Her duet with Janet Krupin as Anita, “A Boy Like That/I Have a Love,” is gorgeous.

“West Side Story” is a treat to see. The Musical Theatre of Los Angeles tackles the project with a refreshing honesty that shines through every moment the actors occupy the stage.

Arthur Laurents’ book, Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics and Leonard Bernstein’s music are immortal. This version should produce full houses and a clamoring for tickets.

Hudson Backstage Theatre is located at 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, visit