Two teenage street gangs from different ethnic backgrounds make for one of the most difficult theater productions to per from.
"When it was first done in 1957 the book was by Arthur Laurents, the lyrics were by Sondheim, and the music was by Berstein. My goodness it doesn't get any more difficult than that," said former USF Theater Director, Kim Bartling.
More than 50 years later, West Side Story is as timely as ever with more Spanish and darker scenes driven by social struggles.
"It didn't deter from the production. You absolutely knew what they were talking about through the songs we all know," said Bartling.
West Side Story is particularly relevant right now given the current debate on immigration reform.
"I think we all think we know what it is but I think to come back with our sensibilities today, certainly in our country where we're talking about immigration reform. I think it's a great reminder of what this country is all based on the melting pot of wanting to live the American dream."