The Outsiders Rolls with the Punches on Broadway

May 30, 2024

Originally published as a novel nearly six decades ago, S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders tackles teenage angst and isolation. The book became a best-seller, publishing over 15 million copies for generations of teenagers who found an emotional connection with the main characters’ daily struggle to find their place in the world. As a testament to the enduring relevance of this theme, the book’s musical production, The Outsiders is currently playing at Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, has received outstanding reviews and no fewer than 12 Tony nominations, not only for its impressive adaptation from paper to stage but also for its powerful sound and visual design elements. PRG is proud to have provided this new musical with audio, lighting, and projection technology. Sound Designer Cody Spencer, Lighting Designer Brian MacDevitt, and Projection Designer Hana S. Kim deliver a genuinely immersive experience for audience members throughout the theatre.    

The Outsiders (Photo by Matthew Murphy)
The Outsiders (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Brian MacDevitt’s Tony-nominated lighting design is called “wonderfully expressive” by Variety. MacDevitt’s lighting sets the mood for a range of scenes spanning palpable sadness, raw anger, fear, and hope. MacDevitt’s vision of an old-school, incandescent look and feel to the stage and characters drove his designs. “The color had to be just right for 1967; it had to exude realism. Yet, with the story told through memory, I also had so much flexibility for extremities and abstraction. The creative opportunities in front of me, combined with the single set to work with, well, that was a lighting designer’s dream!” said MacDevitt when asked about his experience working on the show. 

“Collaborating with this creative team was nothing short of thrilling, especially on that pivotal Rumble scene. The drama, the grittiness, and the ability to elicit genuine emotion and connect with the audience through light, sound, and scenic elements were pure exhilaration. And PRG was so great in helping me find the exact lighting gear that I needed; they understood that distinct analog look I was going for and fixtures that would deliver an amazing punch,” MacDevitt said. His design includes over 70 High End Systems Halcyon Titanium automated fixtures, popular for their brightness and compact size, and PRG’s proprietary GroundControl® Followspot System.  

the outsiders on Broadway
The Outsiders (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Working alongside MacDevitt, Hana S. Kim’s projection design drives home the palpable emotions of the characters on set. Kim focused on providing an emotional landscape rather than the literal translations of what’s happening on stage. She turned to photos from William Eggleston and Arthur Tress for inspiration and created some of the content using analog film development to generate base textures, as well as her own charcoal drawings. Describing the projection system, Kim said, “We’re using high output, 4K laser projectors and disguise media servers so to achieve the precise pixel density I was looking for. During tech, we experimented with a lot with different surfaces, moving projectors around and exploring multiple lensing options.  PRG really helped us by staying flexible while we were figuring it all out.” 

Learn more about PRG’s work in the theatre here.