American Idiot Tour, With Van Hughes, Joshua Kobak, Jake Epstein and More, Tests Wings in Upstate NY | Playbill

News American Idiot Tour, With Van Hughes, Joshua Kobak, Jake Epstein and More, Tests Wings in Upstate NY
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 in Broadway's American Idiot.
Van Hughes in Broadway's American Idiot. Photo by Paul Kolnik

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.

Leslie McDonel and Jake Epstein in rehearsal
photo by Doug Hamilton
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."

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American Idiot 2011-2012 National Tour Dates

Utica, NY, Dec. 21-22, Stanley Theatre
Toronto, ON, Dec. 28, 2011-Jan. 15, 2012, Toronto Centre for the Arts
Detroit, MI, Jan. 17-22, 2012, Opera House
Boston, MA, Jan. 24-29, 2012, Opera House
Raleigh, NC, Jan. 31-Feb. 5, 2012, Memorial Auditorium
Chicago, IL, Feb. 7-19, 2012, Oriental Theatre
Minneapolis, MN, Feb. 21-26, 2012, Orpheum Theatre
State College, PA, Feb. 28-29, 2012, Eisenhower Auditorium
St. Louis, MO, March 2-4, 2012, Peabody Opera House
Denver, CO, March 6-11, 2012, Buell Theatre
Los Angeles, CA, March 13-April 22, 2012, Ahmanson Theatre
Tempe, AZ, April 24-29, 2012, ASU Gammage
Dallas, TX, May 8-20, 2012, AT&T PAC
Costa Mesa, CA, May 29-June 3, 2012, Segerstrom Center
Seattle, WA, May 5-June 10, 2012, Paramount Theatre
San Francisco, CA, June 12-July 8, 2012, Orpheum Theatre

Read's 2010 feature asking original cast members what rock album they would want if they were stranded on a desert island.

The cast in rehearsal
The cast in rehearsal Photo by Doug Hamilton

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