Michael Mayer and Green Day Create American Idiot Musical, to Bow in California

News   Michael Mayer and Green Day Create American Idiot Musical, to Bow in California Michael Mayer, the Tony Award-winning director of Spring Awakening, known for its alternative rock score by Duncan Sheik, will direct a new musical by punk group Green Day, to premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theater in the fall.

Michael Mayer
Michael Mayer Photo by Greg Kalafatas

The New York Times reported that the new musical is being adapted from the Green Day album, "American Idiot." The production of the same name will play the California not-for-profit Sept. 4-Oct. 11 (with the hope of a commercial future) and will include creative collaboration by the Bay Area punk trio comprised of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool.

Berkeley Rep is known as a home for eclectic contemporary works, including plays such as Yellowjackets, Eurydice and In the Next Room, or the vibrator play and solo shows including Wishful Drinking and Bridge and Tunnel. As previously reported, pop writer Matthew Sweet's album, "Girlfriend," is also set to emerge as a Berkeley Rep musical in 2009-10.

Mayer and Spring Awakening producer Tom Hulce reportedly approached Green Day about adapting American Idiot for the stage. After developmental workshops in 2008, the band green-lit plans for a full production. Next to Normal composer Tom Kitt and Steven Hoggett (Black Watch) are apparently attached as orchestrator and choreographer, respectively. A cast of about 20 young performers is possible, according to the Times.

The concept album is known for its dark lyrics and the hit single "Boulevard of Broken Dreams."

Mayer is the Broadway director at home with both plays (Side Man) and musicals (Thoroughly Modern Millie). His original musical projects have reflected his taste for wedding pop music to theatrical storytelling, as was the case with Spring Awakening (by alt rock composer Sheik and lyricist Steven Sater) and 10 Million Miles, an Off-Broadway musical that drew on the songs of folk-pop writer Patty Griffin. He also has affection for traditional show music; he has long harbored a hope to re-boot Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner's On a Clear Day You Can See Forever for a new generation. Mayer won the 2007 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for Spring Awakening, which was also named Best Musical and won for Best Score and Best Book, among other Tonys.

Mayer received Tony nominations for Best Director for his work on A View From the Bridge; You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown; and the Tony-winning Best Musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. His other Broadway credits include An Almost Holy Picture, Uncle Vanya, The Lion in Winter, Side Man and Triumph of Love. Off-Broadway, Mayer has directed The Credeaux Canvas, Stupid Kids, Baby Anger, Antigone in New York and View of the Dome. His imminent project is Theresa Rebeck's Our House at Playwrights Horizons.

The track listing on the multi-million-seller "American Idiot" album from Warner Bros. Records includes: "American Idiot," "Jesus of Suburbia," "Holiday," "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "Are We the Waiting," "St. Jimmy," "Give Me Novacaine," "She's a Rebel," "Extraordinary Girl," "Letterbomb," "Wake Me Up When September Ends," "Homecoming" and "Whatsername."

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