Green Day’s "Idiot” Hits Theater

 

Well, here’s hoping it’s more Tommy than Graceland at least… but didn’t we kill off the rock
opera back in the ‘70s?

 

By
Blurt Staff

 

Green
Day won two Grammy Awards – Best Rock Album and Record of the Year – with its
multi-platinum American Idiot, which
sold more than 12 million copies worldwide. Today the band announced plans to
bring that explosive album to the stage by collaborating with Michael Mayer,
renowned director of Spring Awakening, which grabbed eight Tony Awards
including Best Director and Best Musical in 2007. The new show – also titled American Idiot – will receive its world
premiere right in the guys’ backyard at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the
Tony-winning playhouse that launched last year’s provocative rock musical Passing Strange.  Berkeley Rep will
produce the show in association with Tom Hulce and Ira Pittleman, the lead
producers of Spring Awakening. 

 

 

 Mayer and Green Day, along with Olivier
Award-winning choreographer Steven Hoggett, recently completed a workshop of American Idiot in New York, which was also produced by
Berkeley Rep.

 

 

The
show includes every song from the album, as well as several new songs from
Green Day’s upcoming release, 21st Century
Breakdown
.

 

 

American Idiot will run from Sept. 4 –
Oct. 11, opening Berkeley Rep’s 2009-10 season in the state-of-the-art Roda
Theatre. A limited number of seats go on sale today at www.berkeleyrep.org .

 

 

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. This high-octane
show will blend an onstage band and an ensemble of 19 young performers.

 

 

“We
are really excited to be working with Michael Mayer on this project,” said
Green Day’s frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, in a statement. “We’d been
thinking of bringing American Idiot to the stage, but knew we needed to find
the right partners. After meeting with Michael to discuss the possibility, he
invited us to see Spring Awakening.
We were so impressed with that production, as well as his vision for American Idiot, that we knew we’d found
the perfect collaborator. Plus, doing it in our hometown at Berkeley Rep was an
obvious bonus. They’re an amazing theatre group, very adventurous, and their
willingness to take chances is in keeping with the spirit of the album. The end
result will be terrific, and we’re really proud.”  

 

 

“When
I first heard American Idiot, I was
struck by its innate theatricality,” Mayer added in a statement. “Here
was a new musical drama begging to be staged. Who would have thought that
one of the most brutally honest, eloquent, passionate, funny, and poetic
theatrical responses to the post 9-11 world would be a Green Day record? The
connection I felt to American Idiot surprised me. I knew and liked Green Day, but had no clue that I would ever
feel so inside their songs. This work of passion and vision and fierce
intelligence seemed to me like the heartbeat of a generation of Americans who
were fed up. I hear in these amazing songs the articulation of their
frustration, anger, longing for a better world – a journey from apathy to
action. Collaborating with Billie Joe and the band is a mind-blowing
thrill, and I can’t wait to begin production at Berkeley Rep, the perfect home
for making a new kind of musical event.”  

 

“Green
Day is a band that we’ve long admired here in Berkeley and championed as one of our
own,” said Tony Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Rep. “American Idiot is an iconic album, and
having the opportunity to bring it to the stage is a bit of a dream come true.
To preserve the original intention of the album while creating a stage-worthy
experience is a challenge that we relish, and bringing a director with the
skill and experience of Michael Mayer into our theatre makes it that much
sweeter.”  

 

 

 

Tickets
to American Idiot are already available
now for preview performances on select evenings early in the run: Friday,
September 4; Saturday, September 5; Wednesday, September 9; Thursday, September
10; and Sunday, September 13. Tickets to these shows are priced at a special
rate – only $32 to $54 – and may only be purchased online at www.berkeleyrep.org.

 

 

 

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