Jerome Robbins (god bless his sometimes-genius but often-dunderheaded soul) first pitched West Side Story to Leonard Bernstein as a tense standoff between Catholics and Jews during Passover/Easter.
Bernstein (god bless his more consistently genius soul) said Robbins's idea was "not very fresh"—i.e, booooo-ring—and held out for something better. That something came via a newspaper story about teenage gangs fighting to the death in San Bernardino. Good thing he waited.
In other news, Edward Albee says in an interview that most "people want to go to the theater and waste their time.” Based on most of the theater I see, that sounds about right.