Last week the Berkeley Repertory Theatre announced the full cast for its anticipated upcoming premiere of American Idiot, a production based on the popular Green Day album of the same name, that will run at the downtown Berkeley theater from September 4 through October 11, and feature the music of Green Day and the lyrics of the longtime East Bay band's Billie Joe Armstrong.
Even before the cast was announced, tickets were already selling briskly, fueled in good part by Green Day fans anxious to see how their fave band's 2004 album is being adapted to the stage. American Idiot is being staged by star director Michael Mayer, who won a Tony Award in 2007 for his direction of the musical adaptation of Spring Awakening, and who collaborated with Armstrong on the story.
The stage production of American Idiot is decribed by the Berkeley Rep as one that "follows working-class characters from the suburbs to the city to the Middle East. In an exhilarating journey borne along by Green Day's electrifying songs, they seek redemption in a world filled with frustration."
The music driven production will feature not only every song off of American Idiot, which won two Grammys -- Best Rock Album and Record of the Year -- and sold more than 12 million copies worldwide, but also several songs from Green Day's follow up to American Idiot, 21st Century Breakdown, which was released a few months ago and done in a similar style to American Idiot. The team that Mayer has assembled to bring the production to the Berkeley stage includes choreographer Steven Hoggett, composer Tom Kitt, and video designer Darrel Maloney.
The 19 strong young cast of the Berkeley Rep's production is led by Tony-winning actor John Gallagher, Jr., who plays Johnny, and is supported by an ensemble that includes Matt Caplan (Tunny), Michael Esper (Will), Tony Vincent (St. Jimmy), Mary Faber (Heather), and Rebecca Naomi Jones (Whatsername). The whole rock opera style of American Idiot seems like a perfect fit for the theater stage and the idea was something that Billie Joe Armstrong, along with his two bandmates Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool, apparently had been considering for a while.
"We'd been thinking of bringing American Idiot to the stage, but knew we needed to find the right partners. After meeting with Michael [Mayer] 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," said Armstrong in a prepared statement, adding, "Plus, doing it in our hometown at Berkeley Rep was an obvious bonus."
American Idiot runs from September 4 through October 11, opening Berkeley Rep's 2009/10 season in the state-of-the-art Roda Theatre. Tickets, as part of a subscription to the season that includes six other new productions, have been on sale for a time already, while remaining seats went on sale to the public last Friday.
Tickets are priced at $32 or $16 for those under 30 years of age. For more ticket and show information visit the Berkeley Rep's wesite or call (510) 647-2949 or toll-free at (888) 4-BRT-Tix. The Berkeley Rep is located at 2015 Addison Street @ Shattuck, Berkeley, CA 94704. And for more information on the band, visit the Green Day website.
Green Day "American Idiiot" (Live)