Everything you need to know about ‘The Outsiders’ on Broadway

S. E. Hinton's coming-of-age novel, a staple on middle and high school reading lists, is now a 12-time Tony Award-nominated, critically acclaimed musical.

Joe Dziemianowicz
Joe Dziemianowicz

A coming-of-age classic has graduated to the Broadway class of 2024. The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton's famous young adult novel about rival teenage gangs that spawned a Francis Ford Coppola movie, is now a Broadway musical up for a whopping 12 Tony Awards. That’s something to rumble about.

Broadway first-timer Brody Grant stars as troubled teenager Ponyboy Curtis in this show created by co-authors Adam Rapp and Justine Levine, who wrote the songs with Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance). The show arrived on Broadway in March following a 2023 run in San Diego.

The Outsiders will make you sit up and take notice,” New York Theatre Guide’s review reads. “The climactic gang war surges in such stylized, cinematic fashion that my audience cheered.”

Be an insider and see The Outsiders at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre for yourself. Before you do, read more about the show below.

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What is The Outsiders about?

The Outsiders is a musical set in 1967 Tulsa, Oklahoma that focuses on Ponyboy Curtis, a 14-year-old orphan caught in a battle between rival adolescent gangs: the working-class Greasers and privileged Socs (socialites, from the richer side of town).

Threaded together with folk- and bluegrass-flavored songs, the narrative follows Ponyboy, his brothers, and his friends as the intelligent and intuitive teen tries to rewrite a dead-end future.

Where is The Outsiders playing?

The Outsiders is at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, located at 242 W. 45th St. between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Originally part of a three-theatre complex, the venue opened in 1927. The Shubert Organization took ownership in 1930. The theatre is now named for the organization's longtime former president.

Plays and musicals that have recently run at the 1,078-seat theatre include Parade, Almost Famous, Company, and Betrayal.

How long is The Outsiders?

The Outsiders runs approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission. This is a typical running time for a Broadway musical, which usually includes a 15-minute intermission.

What days is The Outsiders playing?

The Outsiders plays Tuesday through Sunday, with two performances on Wednesdays and Saturdays and no performances on Mondays.

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When did The Outsiders musical premiere?

The Outsiders musical premiered on Broadway in March 2024, several decades after the release of the novel and movie adaptation that are sources for the show. Check out the full timeline below.

  • 1967: S. E. Hinton publishes her coming-of-age novel about troubled teens trapped by a class divide. She wrote the book while in high school and was 18 when it came out.
  • 1983: The Outsiders film adaptation directed by Francis Ford Coppola is released. C. Thomas Howell played Ponyboy, while Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, and Diane Lane took on supporting roles.
  • 1990: The Outsiders television adaptation runs for a single season. Jay R. Ferguson (The Conners) played Ponyboy.
  • 1990: A different The Outsiders stage play, by Christopher Sergel, is published. The play keeps much of the story’s more violent episodes off stage.
  • 2023: The Outsiders musical premieres at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in advance of a Broadway run. A review from the Los Angeles Times called the production “hypnotic.”
  • 2024: The Outsiders musical begins Broadway performances in March with most of the San Diego cast.

Who wrote The Outsiders?

The Outsiders musical features a book by Adam Rapp and Justin Levine, adapted from the original novel by S. E. Hinton. Rapp is known for his Tony Award-nominated drama The Sound Inside and the Pulitzer Prize finalist Red Light Winter. Levine makes his Broadway debut as a writer.

The music and lyrics are by Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Levine. Jamestown Revival is known for blending folk, rock, country, and other influences and makes its Broadway debut. Levine has music-directed and created vocal arrangements for Broadway shows like Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Moulin Rouge! The Musical!, and Here Lies Love.

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The Outsiders characters

In addition to Ponyboy Curtis, characters in the musical include his brothers, friends, rival gang members, and others.

  • Ponyboy Curtis: A smart and sensitive 14-year-old from the poorer side of Tulsa. He grapples with being loyal to his gang and wanting a better life.
  • Sodapop Curtis: Ponyboy’s supportive older brother.
  • Darrell Curtis: Ponyboy’s tough and authoritative oldest brother who has taken on the role of their late parents.
  • Johnny Cade: Ponyboy’s vulnerable best friend and fellow Greaser.
  • Dallas Winston: An older, hardened Greaser ringleader who looks out for Ponyboy and Johnny.
  • Cherry Valance: A well-off girl who befriends Ponyboy.
  • Bob: A trouble-making Soc and Cherry’s boyfriend, who tragically clashes with Ponyboy and Johnny.
  • Two-Bit Mathews: A member of the Greasers.

Who is in the cast of The Outsiders musical?

The cast of the Broadway premiere of The Outsiders musical features 10 actors making Broadway debuts. Many reprise their roles from the La Jolla run.

Brody Grant plays Ponyboy Curtis opposite Sky Lakota-Lynch as Johnny Cade and Joshua Boone as Dallas Winston. All three received 2024 Tony Award nominations for their performances.

Other key players include Brent Comer as Darrell Curtis, Jason Schmidt as Sodapop Curtis, and Emma Pittman as Cherry Valance. Of the principal actors, Grant, Lakota-Lynch, Comer, and Schmidt are Broadway newcomers.

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The Outsiders songs

The songs in The Outsiders musical feature lyrics and music by Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Justin Levine. The score blends folk, bluegrass, Americana, and rock, fitting the gritty setting of 1967 Tulsa, Oklahoma. Here are all the songs in the show.

Act 1

  • “Tulsa '67”
  • “Grease Got a Hold”
  • “Runs in the Family”
  • “Great Expectations”
  • “Friday at the Drive-in”
  • “I Could Talk to You All Night”
  • “Runs in the Family” (Reprise)
  • “Far Away From Tulsa”
  • “Run Run Brother”

Act 2

  • “Justice for Tulsa”
  • “Death's at My Door”
  • “Throwing in the Towel”
  • “Soda's Letter”
  • “Hoods Turned Heroes”
  • “Hopeless War”
  • “Trouble”
  • “Little Brother”
  • “Stay Gold”
  • Finale (“Tulsa '67”)

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What awards has The Outsiders musical won?

The new Broadway adaptation of The Outsiders is currently in the running for a number of awards in the 2023-24 season.

The Outsiders is currently nominated for 12 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Leading Actor in a Musical (Brody Grant), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Joshua Boone and Sky Lakota-Lynch), Best Choreography, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Orchestrations, and for scenic, lighting, and sound design.

The Outsiders is also up for nine Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Lead Performance (for Grant). The choreography, lyrics, music, sound design, lighting design, scenic design, and direction are also nominated.

Major productions of The Outsiders musical

The Outsiders has had two high-profile productions in the U.S. thus far: The 2023 San Diego run and 2024 Broadway production on stage now are the only major productions of the show. If the musical is a success, this production could have a long future, leading to more across the country and even the world.

Onscreen adaptations of The Outsiders musical

The Outsiders musical hasn’t received a screen adaptation — the situation is, let's say, inside out. The Broadway musical is based on the 1967 novel as well as the 1983 film adaptation directed by Francis Ford Coppola, which starred actors including C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, and Diane Lane before they became A-listers.

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Fun facts about The Outsiders on Broadway

  • The Outsiders marks the Broadway debut of Oscar winner Angelina Jolie, who is a producer of the show.
  • The Outsiders regularly appears on middle and high school reading lists.
  • Ponyboy hands out a book to one lucky audience member at each performance. It’s The Outsiders. Yes, you get to keep it.
  • An image projected on the curtain at The Outsiders matches the jacket of the novel's 40th anniversary edition.
  • Over 100 gallons of water fall during the rumble scene, which takes place in the rain, at each performance.

Get tickets to The Outsiders on Broadway

The Outsiders musical packs multi-generational resonance and appeal. Stay gold, but don’t stay still – check out the show.

Get The Outsiders tickets now.

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Photo credit: The Outsiders on Broadway. (Photos by Matthew Murphy)

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