S.E. Hinton’s ‘The Outsiders’ To Get Stage Musical Adaptation; Chicago Production Based In Part On 1983 Film

A musical version of The Outsiders, based on both S.E. Hinton’s groundbreaking 1967 YA novel and Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 film version that introduced a generation of young actors who would dominate the screen for years to come, will make its world premiere next year at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre.

Though there currently are no plans for the musical beyond Chicago, the production’s creative team has significant ties to New York and Hollywood. The musical’s book is written by Adam Rapp, whose plays have been staged at, among other venues, New York Theatre Workshop and Rattlestick Theatre, and his film and TV credits include The L Word, In Treatment and The Looming Tower 

The production’s director, Liesl Tommy, directed Eclipsed starring Lupita Nyong’o both Off- and on Broadway in 2015-16. Tommy’s upcoming film projects include the movie adaptation of Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime and the planned Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson. Choreographer Lorin Latarro is currently repped on Broadway with Waitress.

The Outsiders music and lyrics will be written by Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance, a nationally known Austin, Texas, duo who perform under the band name Jamestown Revival, and Justin Levine, whose credits include music supervision and orchestrations for the Broadway-bound Moulin Rouge!

The Outsiders will run at the Goodman from June 20-August 2, 2020.

The production was announced by Robert Falls, the Goodman’s artist director, as part of the theater’s 2019-20 season. The Outsiders will play on the Goodman’s 856-seat Albert Theater main stage. Falls said the Albert’s season will conclude “on a high note with the world premiere of a thrilling new musical,” and that Hinton’s “story of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ that defined a generation is boldly told anew, for the next generation.”

Coppola’s film version starred a who’s who of ’80s Young (Male) Hollywood, including C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze and Ralph Macchio. Set in 1967 Tulsa, Oklahoma, The Outsiders tells the story, as the Goodman describes it, of “Ponyboy Curtis, Johnny Cade and their band of greasers (who) take center stage in a fight for purpose and a quest for survival.”

Other productions in the Goodman 2019-20 season line-up are: Dana H by Lucas Hnath, Theresa Rebeck’s Bernhardt/Hamlet, Lisa Loomer’s Roe, Korde Arrington Tuttle’s Graveyard Shift, Brian Friel’s Molly Sweeney, Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls, Or, the African Mean Girls Play; José Cruz González’s American Mariachi, and Tom Creamer’s adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

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