Friendo #1: “I’m certainly curious about West Side Story, but I can’t imagine it will be all that different from the original, except more muted visually. Two people who’ve seen In the Heights tell me it’s terrific and will go through the roof with audiences — and it will win all comparisons to the Spielberg.”

Jett and I saw the 2009 West Side Story revival at the Palace (B’way and 47th), where Judgment at Nuremberg and The Bridge on the River Kwai played reserved seat engagements in ’61 and ’57, respectively. I had never seen it onstage, and my basic responses were (a) “Well, I’ve finally seen it performed on stage!’, (b) “Very professional enterprise, and obviously more authentically ethnic in terms of Puerto Rican characters and dialogue,” (c) “I was impressed but not blown away,” (d) “Who was that little twerpy guy playing the imaginary son of Tony and Maria?”

Friendo #2: “I have high hopes pinned on In The Heights and West Side Story, although I’ve long regarded the latter as a weak piece of storytelling with great songs, and I’m not sure if Tony Kushner is going to be able to fix that. What put West Side Story over, when it first emerged in the paleolithic era of Elvis Presley and Dwight D. Eisenhower, was that exotic concept — switchblade-wielding street gangs, modern-dance mode, Romeo and Juliet. But exotic concept does not automatically = interesting or well-told story.”

Six weeks ago: “For months I’ve been thinking that Quiara Alegría Hude and Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s In The Heights (HBO Max, 6.18) may be a better, more rousing thing than Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story (20th Century, 12.10), which I’ve been secretly scared of for a long time.”

“The original West Side Story B’way musical is over 63 years old, having came out of the Upper West Side tenement jungle of the early to mid ’50s. In The Heights is based on a 2007 Off-B’way show, and is therefore at least part of this century.”

A friend says he’s heard “mixed” responses. Like what? Too pop-fizzy? Too synthetic? “All of that,” he replied. “Overlong, poorly paced, fails at character development.”