I’m an Insider Now That I’ve Seen The Outsiders

When I stepped out into the bright stage light I was brought back to 1967.

In 1983 at age 7 I first saw “The Outsiders”. I watched it over and over again. I didn’t realize why I needed to watch it so often until now. The themes of loss, trauma, one’s inner fight, rich man poor man, and most importantly the need for an opportunity to get out and on the road are alive and well in this story. Then in 8th grade, I had to read the book. What I mostly remember is how mean Pony Boy was to” Cherry Valance in one chapter.

The stage adaptation of SE Hinton’s timeless novel, The Outsiders, brings the classic tale of teenage angst with a twist. Directed by Danya Taymor, the production delves into the struggles of Ponyboy Curtis and the Greasers gang in 1967 Tulsa. Through poignant songs and captivating performances, the musical portrays themes of violence, rivalries, and adolescent turmoil.

The show skillfully navigates the dynamics between the Greasers and the Socs (Soches), showcasing the brutal clash of social classes and the individual connections that transcend stereotypes. Noteworthy performances by the cast, including Brody Grant as Ponyboy. His boyish charm and inner conflict were always alive on stage. Jason Schmidt as Sodapop, takes his first shot at Broadway and kills it in several scenes with some carefully calculated sensitivity. You could see he loves and needs his brothers. Darrel genuinely sells it as the older brother. You can feel his authority and the respect he garners from everyone around. Daryl Tofa as Two Bit was great and you were always aware when he was on stage. The enigmatic Dallas Winston, added depth to the narrative. Emma Pittmann as Cherry Valence was perfection. It’s very hard to fill up an empty character and she does it with class. Sky Lakota-Lynch as Johnny Gage will get a Tony Nomination, mostly because he made me cry. He also carries himself as someone truly abused. He was great to watch. From his restless leg syndrome, the sadness he can convey to the joy he brings to the table.

With striking visuals and innovative choreography, The Outsiders captivates the audience, immersing them in the gritty realism of the characters’ experiences. The musical’s exploration of trauma, violence, and societal divides resonates with a modern understanding while paying homage to the novel’s original essence. Some stand-out songs are the opening, “Tulsa 67” which brings you straight to Oklahoma. “Great Expectations” where Ponyboy waxes about the Dickens novel, and of course, Stay Gold, which has been part of our lexicon since S.E. Hinton first wrote this book.

Through a nuanced portrayal of race and identity, the production invites viewers to reflect on deeper issues subtly woven into the storyline. The set design, incorporating elements of Americana and urban decay, creates a haunting backdrop for the characters’ intertwining lives. The show opens with Ponyboy sitting in a large tractor tire. The tires representing the cars the greasers can’t afford and the wheels they don’t have to leave town. In America, a car represents freedom and a town in Tulsa where no one poor can leave.

Overall, The Outsiders musical strikes a delicate balance between honoring the classic source material and infusing it with contemporary relevance. With compelling storytelling and memorable performances, the production offers a poignant reflection on adolescence, rebellion, and the enduring search for belonging.

Prepare for some strobe lights and flashing.

Run Time: 2 hours 25 minutes

Intermission: 15 minutes



DB Frick
D.B. is a long time writer and performer. He's had the opportunity to work alongside such greats a Martin Scorsese and Jesse Eisenberg. Most recently D.B. was a writer and performer for the podcast The National Lampoon Presents The Final Edition run by comic icon Tony Hendra, whom D.B. has also written with. D.B. was Senior Comedy Writer for The NY Theatre Guide, interviewing many greats and reviewing NYC Comedy. D.B. also has a script used as material in an NYU Tisch writing class taught by mentor, D.B. Gilles. D.B. has also taught Improv and Writing at UCLA and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

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