Listen… can you hear the denim moving across a stage in California, the swish of gelled hair? S.E. Hinton’s beloved novel The Outsiders has been adapted into a musical at La Jolla Playhouse, with solid reviews following the open.
If you haven’t pawed at a paperback of The Outsiders since adolescence, it opens on the turf wars of the Greasers and Socs in Oklahoma in the 60s, and centers on Ponyboy, a 14-year-old who is looked after by the older Greasers, including Darry and Sodapop.
The novel was adapted by Francis Ford Coppola into a 1983 film that starred Patrick Swayze as Darry, Matt Dillon as Sodapop, Thomas E. Howell as Ponyboy, and Ralph Macchio as a kid from the wrong gang, plus Emilion Estevez, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise’s old smile, and a Robert Frost poem.
The La Jolla musical has by lyrics by Jamestown Revival and Justin Levine (Moulin Rouge! The Musical), a Tony-award winner. The book is by book by Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp.
S.E. Hinton wrote the book as a 16-year-old, publishing under her initials at the advice of her publisher, and went on to write adult and children’s fiction. The Outsiders remains her most popular book. Fifty-six years later, it’s still gold.