Mayer & Armstrong: One on One
By Michael Mayer
Tony Award–winning director Michael Mayer interviews Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong about their new musical American Idiot. And we've got exclusive audio extras.
At Playbill's invitation, Mayer, who won his Best Direction Tony for Spring Awakening, sat down with collaborator Armstrong (they share book credit on the musical American Idiot) to talk about the 2004 source album and its rebirth as a Broadway rock musical.
Will Armstrong write another musical? Read on — and listen, too. We've got exclusive audio outtakes and extras.
MICHAEL MAYER: Why did you make the record "American Idiot"?
MM: This was during the beginning of the Iraq War?
MM: What was it about rock opera that felt right as a vehicle for channeling that moment?
BJA: Yeah! I visualized the characters in my head, and starting thinking, "Wow, this could totally be staged...it could be something."
MM: What was your first reaction when I first approached you about making this show?
MM: "American Idiot" [the album] is the story of one man's journey to find himself and…return home a little older and a lot wiser. When I suggested opening the story up and adding the characters Will and Tunny, did you have an image as to who these guys might be?
MM: You've been involved in this show to a degree that's surprising. Why was that important to you?
BJA: There was a lot going on personally in my own life at the same time; I had a friend who committed suicide, so there were a lot of emotions going on. That thing where you're scared and you're worried about failing, and at the same time when you lose someone to such a senseless death, it makes you realize you have to live. Who cares what anyone else thinks? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
MM: The theatre fans who came to see the show, to my great delight, really dug it. And a lot of them didn't know Green Day's music. I was also nervous about what your fans would think. What has been your experience so far with your fans and the show?
MM: I love the idea of a mosh pit in a Broadway theatre someday.
MM: Now that you've had this experience, do you think you'd want to write another musical? And by the way, you already told me that you did, and that I could direct it, so I'm going to hold you to it, and this is in Playbill, so it's the truth! But seriously, does that still interest you?
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