Believe it or not I had no clue that this film was based on Romeo and Juliet. As a Renaissance specialist I realized this influence immediately. Right after I read it on the internet. Actually it went more like this:
"Hmm, Jets and Sharks. It's as if they are two houses, both alike in dignity in fair Manhattan. Gosh, I hope this ancient grudge doesn't break into a new mutiny. Oh crap, Bernardo stabbed Riff and so Tony stabbed Bernardo and oh no now he's never going to make it with Natalie Wood. Wait a minute this sounds familiar. It's a lot like...hmmm. It must be. This is exactly like Boyz in the Hood"
Oh ok. It probably had nothing to do with with Cuba Gooding Jr. But wouldn't it be a great remake to see Boyz in the Hood turned into a musical. All that drive-by dance fighting. That would be a movie to end all movies.
Also of note, gotta love all of the "beat" stereotypes in this movie. Hollywood got so much mileage out of the "beat" hoodlum character mold that they ought to pay Kerouac's estate royalties.