In just a week, Romans of all ages can relive the classic struggle of what it’s like to have grown up on the wrong side of the tracks.

Rome Little Theatre’s “The Outsiders” hits the stage Jan. 30 through Feb. 8, and the timeless characters of Ponyboy, Johnny and Sodapop will climb out of the pages of S.E. Hinton’s coming-of-age tale and onto the stage of the DeSoto Theatre on Broad Street.

Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:30. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for students and seniors.

“The Outsiders” stage adaption explores life through the eyes of Ponyboy, a young greaser caught up in territorial battles between the local rich kids and others underprivileged like himself. Though the book was published in 1967, Virginia McChesney, the show’s director, said the struggles those characters faced are still very relevant nearly 50 years later.
“It’s something that still has impact,” said McChesney, who’s in her 42nd season as a director at RLT.

McChesney said that because the tone of the story is still so pertinent, she decided to change the era of the story to present day.

“When we first started looking at this, I had asked the guys with me to think of terms that were equivalent to ‘soc’ and ‘greaser’, and there are not terms that mean that in the 21st century,” she explained. “We have gotten meaner in our definitions.”

The show, McChesney said, will have some multimedia aspects creatively woven into the storyline, and some scenes have been changed to keep the play in tune with modern times.

“We’re adding some video to it, and we’re changing the locale at the beginning from a drive-in movie to a concert,” she said.

Cannon Rogers, a freshman at Rome High School, portrays Ponyboy and noted that after having read the book when he was in elementary school, the story still rings as true in 2015.

“There’s the whole timeless clique thing, the rich and poor and the struggle between them,” Rogers said. “Miss McChesney and everyone else on board is really trying to make it look timeless. If you come to the show you’re not going to think, ‘Oh, this is so outdated,’ because this is something that you see walking down the halls of school today.”

McChesney said her cast of talented teens and young adults have brought everything they have to the table. Richard Bristow, theater professor at Berry College, has worked with the cast on fight choreography to ensure realistic, seamless and safe fight scenes, said Neal Brackett, the show’s producer.

Read more: RLT presents ‘The Oustiders’ starting Jan. 30

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