Once upon a time, we had Broadway shows like Cats and Les Misrables. Then came the Queens, the Billy Joels, and the Abbas, and everything changed.
Ladies and gentelmen, prepare yourself for American Idiot, the Musical.
Post-punk band Green Day scored big with their 2004 concept album about a Post-9/11 America. American Idiot went on to sell 12 million copies, and earned the band a plethora of critical acclaim and national attention, the likes of which they hadn’t seen since the days of Dookie. While it’s debatable how well the concept worked on record, director Michael Mayer, the man behind the surprise theatrical hits “Spring Awakening” and “Passing Strange,” believes it will work just fine as a Broadway show.
“When I first heard American Idiot, I was struck by its innate theatricality,” Mayer said 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.”
The show will feature all the songs from the album, as well as several new tunes, and is slated to run from September 4 through October 11 at at the Berkeley Repertory Theater in California.
“We are really excited to be working with Michael Mayer on this project,” Green Day singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong said 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 theater 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.”
Green Day’s latest album, 21st Century Breakdown, comes out May 15. Look for that one to get it’s own album-themed amusement park somewhere around 2015.