The Outsiders: A Terrifying Broadway Rumble

Visuals by Amir Hamja
Text by Alexis Soloski

In a gritty park at night, as a train roars past, teenagers engage in a brutal fight, punching, kicking, and grappling with each other. Director Danya Taymor emphasized the importance of depicting the violence in a raw and terrifying manner in the Broadway musical adaptation of “The Outsiders.”

Based on S.E. Hinton’s novel and Francis Ford Coppola’s film, “The Outsiders” delves into the conflict between the Socs and the Greasers, rival gangs in 1960s Tulsa, Oklahoma. The intense rivalry culminates in a climactic scene known as the rumble, where the teenagers battle for dominance in the park.

The rumble, a three-minute wordless sequence choreographed by Adam Rapp and Justin Levine, showcases a visceral display of violence that transitions from posturing to despair. Blood packs hidden in costumes and buckets on stage add to the realism of the fight, leaving the characters covered in blood by the end.

The rumble is divided into three acts, starting with a thunderclap and a realistic portrayal of violence devoid of dance or aesthetics. As the fight intensifies, the pace slows down, and the brutality becomes more pronounced. The goal is to convey the sheer horror of the violence without glamorizing it in any way.

Music is used sparingly during the rumble, with sounds of the train, rain, and punches amplified for maximum impact. Lighting and projections enhance the terror, with bars of light crossing the stage and illuminating each strike. Rain effects, warm and collected after use, add to the atmosphere of the scene.

The stage floor, made of synthetic rubber, allows the actors to move and slide realistically during the fight. After the rumble, the actors quickly change into clean clothes as the stage is dried and props are tidied up. Taymor noted the audience’s emotional reactions during the rumble, with some viewers moved to tears or breathless in shock.

Overall, “The Outsiders” presents a powerful and unforgettable depiction of teenage violence and rivalry, challenging audiences to confront the brutal reality of the characters’ world.

– Early Life: S.E. Hinton is an American author born on July 22, 1948, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She developed a love for reading and writing from a young age.
– Education: Hinton attended the University of Tulsa, where she studied education.
– Career: Hinton wrote her first novel, “The Outsiders,” at the age of 15, which was later published in 1967. The success of the book led to a film adaptation directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1983.
– Notable Achievements: Hinton’s work has been widely acclaimed for its realistic portrayal of teenage life and social issues. “The Outsiders” remains a classic in young adult literature.
– Personal Life: Hinton is known for her reclusive nature and reluctance to engage in public appearances. She continues to write and publish novels.
– Other Details: Hinton’s impact on literature and popular culture is undeniable, with “The Outsiders” enduring as a timeless exploration of youth, identity, and societal divisions.