American Idiot Tour, With Van Hughes, Joshua Kobak, Jake Epstein and More, Tests Wings in Upstate NY
By Kenneth Jones
The Stanley Theatre in Utica, NY, is the site of the tech and soft launch of the new North American tour of American Idiot, the Broadway rock musical based on the Green Day album. Following Dec. 21-22 public performances, the tour will officially launch Dec. 28 in Toronto.
Van Hughes, the standby for the trio of broken buddy roles in the Broadway run of the musical, plays Johnny, also known as Jesus of Suburbia.
Conceived and directed by Michael Mayer, who co-wrote the book with Green Day frontman/songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong, the musical borrows songs from the Grammy Award-winning rock album by Green Day to tell the story of three suburban slackers (Johnny, Will and Tunny) who take separate paths in post-9/11 America.
The tour plays Toronto Centre for the Arts Dec. 28-Jan. 15, 2012, followed by more than a dozen U.S. markets.
Hughes (Broadway's 9 to 5 and Hairspray, Off-Broadway's Saved) played Johnny at the conclusion of American Idiot's Broadway run. The show closed at the St. James Theatre April 24, 2011, following 422 performances. It was nominated for a 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical, and won Tonys for Lighting Design (Kevin Adams) and Scenic Design (Christine Jones).
The touring cast also includes Joshua Kobak as St. Jimmy, Jake Epstein as Will, Scott J. Campbell as Tunny, original Broadway cast member Leslie McDonel as Heather, Gabrielle McClinton as Whatsername and Nicci Claspell as The Extraordinary Girl, with ensemble members Talia Aaron, Krystina Alabado, Gabriel Antonacci, Larkin Bogan, Matt DeAngelis, Dan Gleason, Kelvin Moon Loh, Tommy McDowell, Jillian Mueller, Jarran Muse, Vince Oddo, Okieriete Onaodowan and Kaitlyn Terrill.
American Idiot's music is by Green Day, with lyrics by Armstrong, who stepped into the dark-force role of St. Jimmy for several scattered weeks of the Broadway run.
The Broadway cast album of American Idiot won the 2010 Grammy Award winner for Best Musical Show Album.
Tony Award winner Mayer (Spring Awakening) has had hands full this fall: He also directed a revised revival of the musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, starring Harry Connick Jr., on Broadway, at the St. James.
American Idiot is choreographed by Olivier Award winner Steven Hoggett (Black Watch, Once) with music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Kitt (Next to Normal). The tour features Tony-winning scenic design by Jones and Tony-winning lighting design by Adams.
The creative team also includes costume design by Andrea Lauer, sound design by Brian Ronan, video and projections design by Darrel Maloney, music direction by Jared Stein, associate choreography by Lorin Latarro and associate direction by Johanna McKeon.
The musical features the hits "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "Wake Me Up When September Ends," "Holiday" and the title track from the 2004 "American Idiot" album. As on Broadway, the score also includes several songs from Green Day's Grammy Award-winning 2009 release "21st Century Breakdown," including "21 Guns" and an unreleased love song, "When It's Time."
For more information, visit www.americanidiotthemusical.com.
American Idiot 2011-2012 National Tour Dates
Utica, NY, Dec. 21-22, Stanley Theatre
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