While some critics found the musical’s ambitious scale appealing, others thought the story was weighed down by too many characters and themes. “Awkward, yearning, fast on its feet, the show, like the adolescents it describes, is still trying on various identities,” Alexis Soloski wrote in a review for The New York Times, though she praised the “effortless yet thoughtfully diversified” casting of the Greasers, who, like the Socs, are white and male in both the book and the movie, as well as the “gorgeous, mournful music.” (The songs are by Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance, of Jamestown Revival, as well as Justin Levine, who won a Tony Award for his orchestrations for “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.”)
Danya Taymor (“Heroes of the Fourth Turning,” “Pass Over”), who directed the La Jolla production, will return for the Broadway run, as will the rest of the creative team. The book is by Adam Rapp (“The Sound Inside”) and Levine, who also handled the arrangements and orchestrations, with choreography by Rick and Jeff Kuperman.
In addition to Jolie, the show’s producers also include American Zoetrope, the San Francisco film production company founded by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas; as well as Sue Gilad and Larry Rogowsky (“Moulin Rouge!,” “Funny Girl”).
Hinton’s novel, which was published when she was a teenager, has long been celebrated for its relatable protagonist and unpolished authenticity. But those same qualities have also put it on frequently challenged books lists for its portrayal of gang violence, underage smoking and drinking and strong language.
“The Outsiders” joins two other Broadway productions that have announced dates for next year. “Prayer for the French Republic,” Joshua Harmon’s dark comedy about a family grappling with antisemitism in France, opens in January; and “The Notebook,” a musical adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’s best-selling romance novel, opens in March.