American Idiot Will Rock Broadway's St. James Starting March 24
By Kenneth Jones
Producers Tom Hulce and Ira Pittelman announced Jan. 5 that following the hit, acclaimed engagement of American Idiot at Berkeley Rep, the production will begin previews on Broadway March 24 and open on April 20 at the St. James Theatre.
The Broadway cast will be announced shortly. (For the record, at Berkeley Rep, Tony-winning actor John Gallagher, Jr. played Johnny, leading an ensemble of 19 young performers that also included Matt Caplan as Tunny, Michael Esper as Will, and Tony Vincent as St. Jimmy with Mary Faber as Heather, Rebecca Naomi Jones as Whatsername and Christina Sajous as the Extraordinary Girl.)
Based on the Reprise Records Grammy Award-winning album of the same name, American Idiot features the music of Green Day and the lyrics of its lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong. The show is directed by Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening), who also collaborated with Armstrong on the book, and choreographed by Olivier Award-winning Steven Hoggett (Blackwatch). The Tony-winning composer Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) is the music supervisor, orchestrator and music arranger. (In addition, Kitt also provided string arrangements for Green Day's latest album "21st Century Breakdown," parts of which are incorporated into American Idiot.)
"Experiencing American Idiot on stage in Berkeley was incredible," stated Billie Joe Armstrong. "We have really enjoyed working with Michael, Steven, Tom and the cast. The energy and chemistry of the group is contagious. Michael Mayer was able to bring life to the characters of American Idiot and Tom Kitt's musical arrangements are breathtaking. We're so proud that the show is coming to Broadway."
Mayer stated, "Green Day's iconic album is one of the most brutally honest, eloquent, and poetically theatrical responses to the post 9/11 world that I have encountered. I hear in these amazing songs the frustration and anger and dreams of a lost generation of Americans. Collaborating with Billie Joe and the band has been a mind-blowing thrill from day one."
According to production notes, "American Idiot follows working-class characters from the suburbs to the city to the Middle East, as they seek redemption in a world filled with frustration — an exhilarating journey borne along by Green Day's electrifying songs. This high-octane show includes every song from the album, as well as several new songs from '21st Century Breakdown.'"
Green Day won two Grammys — Best Rock Album and Record of the Year — for its multi-platinum "American Idiot," which sold more than 12 million copies worldwide.
The show features scenic design by Tony-nominee Christine Jones (Spring Awakening), costume design by Baryshnikov fellow Andrea Lauer (The Butcher of Baraboo), lighting design by two-time Tony-winner Kevin Adams (Hair), sound design by Obie Award-winner Brian Ronan (Cabaret), as well as video design by Darrel Maloney.
The limited engagement of American Idiot at Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre began previews on Sept. 4, 2009, opened on Sept. 16, 2009, extended twice and played its final performance on Nov. 15, 2009.
The Berkeley Rep cast collaborated with Green Day to record a new version of the hit single "21 Guns." Produced by the band's singer and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, the track was released by Reprise Records on Dec. 22, 2009 for purchase through all digital retailers. "21 Guns" is the second single from Green Day's gold album "21st Century Breakdown."
American Idiot will be produced on Broadway in association with Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
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