Jennifer Love Hewitt, Vanessa Williams, James Denton at ‘West Side Story’ opening night

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When it comes to musicals, few are as universally popular as ‘West Side Story.’ And that was evident Wednesday night at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood as celebrities from stage and screen flocked to opening night of the ‘Romeo & Juliet’-style love story set amid warring (and dancing) New York gangs.

Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt made her way down the red carpet -- click the pic below to see ‘The Ghost Whisperer’ star and others -- as did ‘Desperate Housewives’ costars James Denton, Mindy Sterling and Vanessa Williams, who was there with her daughter.

Fans and well-wishers practically mobbed ‘High School Musical’ director Kenny Ortega inside the theater. He attended with Alex Ko, one of the young actor-dancers in the title role in Broadway’s ‘Billy Elliot.’ Eric Stonestreet and Nolan Gould of ‘Modern Family’ were also in the house, as were ‘Mad Men’s’ Robert Morse and Melora Hardin of ‘The Office.’

Not walking the red carpet but spotted by eager autograph seekers inside the theater were Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris, who played Riff and Bernardo in the 1961 film version of ‘West Side Story.’ Yes, that’s Amber Tamblyn‘s dad.

Others spotted at the event included Nia Vardalos, Kym Johnson of ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ Charlene Amoia of ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ Josh Sussman of ‘Glee,’ Tony Award-winning actor-singer John Lloyd Young and Ken Davitian, who came into pop consciousness in ‘Borat.’

An after-party was held at Cafe Was in Hollywood. ‘West Side Story’ runs through Jan. 2 at the Pantages.



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-- Lisa Fung

Top photo: ‘Hannah Montana’ alum Romi Dames, left, actress Tess Hunt, ‘Glee’ guy Josh Sussman and actress Joell Posey at the ‘West Side Story’ opening night after-party Wednesday in Hollywood. Credit: Angela Weiss / Getty Images