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

In denim and leather and newly acquired vintage snakeskin boots, the cast and creative team bringing “The Outsiders” to Broadway went on a trip across Tulsa, Okla., last month — a granular, history-flecked tour of the place where, about 60 years earlier, S.E. Hinton’s coming-of-age story was written and set. Hinton, 75 and still a beloved local, was a star attraction; the visit was a way of mapping out how the new musical version might fit into, or even build on, the durable legacy of “The Outsiders.”

Bouncing along together in a van, singing bits of the show’s score, the company members let out a collective gasp as they caught sight of the enormous Admiral Twin Drive-In. Hinton watched double features there as a kid, and it figured prominently in her 1967 novel. The theater, whose midcentury-style signage remains, also served as a location for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 movie adaptation, whose stars included Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze.

Sky Lakota-Lynch (Johnny Cade), Jason Schmidt (Sodapop Curtis), Brent Comer (Darrel Curtis) and Daryl Tofa (Two-Bit Mathews) hang outside the Admiral Twin Drive-In.

Joshua Boone (Dallas Winston), Lakota-Lynch and Schmidt. “‘Outsiders’ is the first novel I read, front to back,” Boone said.
Brody Grant (Ponyboy Curtis), Kevin William Paul (Bob Sheldon) and Emma Pittman (Cherry Valance).

“Yo, there’s a plaque back here,” someone shouted, and seven guys plus one young woman raced across the muddy off-season field to giddily read about when Greasers and Socials ruled that very spot. Then they popped behind the concessions stand and pretended to pull sodas at the counter. “The Outsiders” still sells out weekends at the Admiral, with more than 1,200 cars lining up.

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