By Kenneth Jones
and Adam Hetrick
01 Feb 2011
|Photo by Paul Kolnik|
Green Day front man and American Idiot co-author Billie Joe Armstrong is playing the spectral drug dealer on scattered dates this winter. Etheridge steps in briefly, while Armstong is on vacation. Armstrong returns to the St. James Theatre Feb. 10-27.
In June 2010, Etheridge made her Broadway debut in a special encore performance with the cast of Million Dollar Quartet. She earned Grammy Awards for her songs "Ain't It Heavy" and "Come to My Window" and the Oscar for "I Need to Wake Up," which was featured in the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."
American Idiot director Michael Mayer said in a statement, "Billie Joe and I always believed that it would be incredible to have a woman take on the role of St. Jimmy. This character is seductive, thrilling and dangerous. Melissa Etheridge is all that and so much more. She's a rock icon and we couldn't be more thrilled that she's bringing her immense talent to American Idiot."
The cast currently includes Tony Award winner John Gallagher Jr. (Spring Awakening), 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) and Jeanna de Waal. The cast also features Declan Bennett, Jennifer Bowles, Andrew Call, Gerard Canonico, Miguel Cervantes, Van Hughes, Brian Charles Johnson, Lorin Latarro, Omar Lopez-Cepero, Leslie McDonel, Chase Peacock, Wallace Smith, Theo Stockman, Ben Thompson, Alysha Umphress, Aspen Vincent and Libby Winters.
American Idiot is inspired by Green Day's punk album of the same name, and also uses the disc's B-side tracks and numbers from the album "21st Century Breakdown." A fresh, post-9/11 story has been attached to the songs. Three suburban buddies (John Gallagher Jr., Stark Sands, Michael Esper) take separate paths and encounter love, loss, violence, temptation and understanding along the way. St. Jimmy is a dark force that speaks to Gallagher's Johnny, aka Jesus of Suburbia, who travels to the big city for a new experience. The Green Day songs have lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong. Musical supervision, arrangements and orchestrations are by Tom Kitt. Choreography is by Olivier Award winner Steven Hoggett. Christine Jones and Kevin Adams won Tony Awards for scenic design and lighting design, respectively.
The show also features costume design by Andrea Lauer, sound design by Olivier and Obie Award-winner Brian Ronan, as well as video design by Darrel Maloney. The music director is Carmel Dean. Lorin Latarro is the associate choreographer.
The performance schedule for American Idiot is Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday at 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. A performance has been added at 2 PM on Wednesday Jan. 5. There will be no performance at 7:30 PM on Sunday Jan. 9.
Tickets range from $137-$49 and can be purchased at The St. James box office or Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200.