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On the Road With ‘The Outsiders,’ Where the Greasers and Socs Rumbled



“‘Outsiders’ is the first novel I read, front to back,” Boone said. He was in fifth grade, and it made an immediate impact. “It was the first time I witnessed that white people could treat other white people the way that I was treated as a Black person,” he said.

Boone and the rest of the ensemble are more energized than nervous by the prospect of transforming this adored property into a new medium.

“Since 1967, people who have read this novel have invested their souls and their time into putting on the shoes of Ponyboy, reading the narrator as themselves,” Grant said. “It just makes me really want to not let those people down.” (Boone, who’s been on Broadway before, and serves as a kind of ringleader for his younger castmates, had grander ambitions. “I want to break the world with this show,” he said.)

They are palpably dedicated. Jason Schmidt, who played Sodapop, the charismatic middle Curtis brother, in La Jolla and reprises it on Broadway, got a tattoo of a vintage-looking cola bottle on his forearm, with his character’s name underneath. “I tend to be a little bit more of a thinker,” he said. “It reminds me to be loose.”

Over Italian food with Hinton, the actors peppered her with questions about her teenage life (who did she have a crush on? Michael Landon, circa “Bonanza,” she said, drawing blank stares), the real-life Greasers and Socs in her orbit (she knew the type, she said, but didn’t base the characters on anyone), and working with Coppola, with whom she went on to adapt another of her books, “Rumble Fish.” In a red blazer and with a sly, soft-spoken wit, she was an unlikely septuagenarian influencer, the 20-something dudes (and Pittman) hanging on her every word.

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