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How to Create a Rumble in the Rain at The Outsiders

Theatre Mania

In the Broadway musical version of S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, director Danya Taymor notes, the bodies of the actors are as important an element as the actual design. So when she and choreographers Jeff and Rick Kuperman were coming up with concepts for the show’s climactic “Rumble,” they needed to figure out a way to make it look both safe and realistic — which also meant rain, dirt, and blood flying alongside the punches the characters were throwing. How did they do it? Find out here.


In The Outsiders, staging, choreography, fighting, and movement seem so intrinsically connected. How did you go about shaping all of that?
Danya Taymor: I wanted movement language and violence language to be created by the same brain. We didn’t want to have a fight choreographer and then a choreographer. I had met Rick and Jeff during the pandemic, and when I got this project, that meeting immediately came back to me. The other thing that was important for me was the aesthetic of bodies being one of the main scenic elements of the show, everything wanting to come from these young characters.

Jeff Kuperman: I remember reading the script and being excited because I didn’t know what we were going to do with it. It’s written almost cinematically. They jump on a train and escape into the night. That’s going to be a fun challenge. When we got to the Rumble, one of the stage directions that stuck out to me was that there’s no music. It’s just the sounds of fists detonating into flesh. It became clear that sound design was going to be super important...READ MORE



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