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5 minutes with a Tony nominee: ‘The Outsiders’’ Jonathan Clay, Zach Chance, Justine Levine and Adam Rapp

Listen to this discussion between all four writers about the creation of the new musical based on the bestselling novel by S.E. Hinton.

(L-R) Adam Rapp, Justin Levine, Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance at the opening night of “The Outsiders” on Broadway, 2024 (Credit: Andy Henderson)

During his sophomore year of high school at St. John’s Military Academy in Wisconsin, now-playwright Adam Rapp took a “great books” class. One of those titles included in the curriculum was “The Outsiders.” “I felt like I was stowing away with that book on a pirate ship — when [I] read [it] with a flashlight under the blanket,” Rapp remembered. “That was the first time I ever had that experience, so it’s pretty formative for me.” 

The S.E. Hinton novel has had a similar impact on thousands of readers, including Rapp’s co-book writer Justin Levine and composer-lyricists Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance (of the folk duo Jamestown Revival) who teamed up with Levine for the score.

Directed by Danya Taymor, the show (now nominated for Best Musical) opened on Broadway on April 11 in a production that balances vulnerability with masculinity. Here, Clay, Chance, Levine and Rapp gathered for a mini-roundtable to discuss their process, their personal friendship born from the show and their feelings about being a Greaser or a Soc.

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