Billie Joe Armstrong, a True American Idol, to Join Broadway Cast of American Idiot

By Kenneth Jones
26 Sep 2010

Billie Joe Armstrong
Billie Joe Armstrong
Photo by Matthew Blank

Broadway's American Idiot will get an extra jolt of energy Sept. 28-Oct. 3 when Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong jumps into the role of St. Jimmy.

This is a rare case of a superstar of modern rock stepping into a role in show for which he also wrote the songs. This marks Armstrong's Broadway debut. Producers confirmed the casting on Sept. 26 following days of rumors about the appearance.

In the show, inspired by Green Day's punk album of the same name, Armstrong will play the apparent alter-ego of Johnny (aka Jesus of Suburbia, played by John Gallagher, Jr.). St. Jimmy leads Johnny into darkness and temptation.

American Idiot plays the St. James Theatre.



Don't expect an extension for Armstrong. Immediately following this engagement, Armstrong will join Green Day in Caracas, Venezuela on Oct. 8, to launch their South American Tour. Original Broadway cast member and current "St. Jimmy," Tony Vincent, will resume performances on Oct. 12 following a leave of absence due to a personal family matter. Vincent’s understudies, Joshua Kobak and Andrew Call, will cover the role Oct. 5-10.

The playing schedule for American Idiot is Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday 8 PM, Thursday at 8 PM, Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM and Sunday at 3 PM and 7:30 PM. Tickets range from $127-$49 and can be purchased at The St. James Box Office or via telecharge.com (212) 239-6200. Visit www.AmericanIdiotonBroadway.com.

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Co-librettists Armstrong and Michael Mayer reconceived the hit Green Day album as the tale of three pals from suburbia who take separate paths in a post-9/11 world. Tony Award winner Mayer directs the production, which has orchestrations by Tom Kitt, and choreography by Steven Hoggett. Officially, American Idiot has music by Green Day, and lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong.

Tony Award winner Gallagher (Spring Awakening) stars alongside Tony Award nominee Stark Sands (Journey's End), Michael Esper (A Man For All Seasons), Rebecca Naomi Jones (Passing Strange), Christina Sajous (The Wild Party), Mary Faber (Avenue Q) and Tony Vincent (Jesus Christ Superstar). The cast also features Declan Bennett, Andrew Call, Gerard Canonico, Miguel Cervantes, Sydney Harcourt, Van Hughes, Brian Charles Johnson, Joshua Kobak, Lorin Latarro, Omar Lopez-Cepero, Leslie McDonel, Chase Peacock, Corbin Reid, Wallace Smith, Theo Stockman, Ben Thompson, Alysha Umphress, Aspen Vincent and Libby Winters.

American Idiot features Tony Award winning scenic design by Christine Jones (Spring Awakening), costume design by Andrea Lauer, Tony Award winning lighting designer Kevin Adams (Hair), sound designer Brian Ronan (Cabaret), as well as video design by Darrel Maloney. The music director is Carmel Dean; Lorin Latarro is the associate choreographer.

Vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool surfaced from working-class backgrounds into the underground punk scene in Berkeley, CA. Following the release of the albums "1039/Smooth Out Slappy Hours" and "Kerplunk," they hit it big with 1994's pop-punk disc "Dookie," which eventually sold 15 million copies and earned the band its first Grammy Award. Their studio albums include "Insomniac," "Nimrod" and "Warning," plus their landmark 2004 album "American Idiot," followed by "21st Century Breakdown," which was nominated for three 2010 Grammy Awards and won Best Rock Album. The musical American Idiot includes material from "21st Century Breakdown" — the songs "Know Your Enemy" and "21 Guns."

For more information about the band, visit www.greenday.com.