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The First National Tour of Green Day’s Punk Rock Opera “American Idiot” Is Flat-Out Electrifying

Van Hughes (left) as Johnny and Joshua Kobak as St. Jimmy will cavort with the company of the First National Tour of "American Idiot" Jan. 31-Feb. 5 in Raleigh (photo by Doug Hamilton)

Van Hughes (left) as Johnny and Joshua Kobak as St. Jimmy will cavort with the company of the First National Tour of "American Idiot" Jan. 31-Feb. 5 in Raleigh (photo by Doug Hamilton)

To see and hear Triangle Arts & Entertainment’s Jan. 31st Reader’s Review, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2012/02/readers-review-green-days-american-idiot/.

To read the Feb. 2nd review by Robert W. McDowell and Liz Alderson, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2012/02/green-days-2009-punk-rock-opera-american-idiot-really-rocks-raleigh-memorial-auditorium/.

Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre will present eight performances of the First National Tour of American Idiot, a 2009 rock opera that takes its title from a 2004 concept album by the legendary California punk rock band Green Day, on Jan. 31-Feb. 5 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh, NC. In addition to the chart-topping music of Green Day, the show features lyrics by Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong and a book by Armstrong and 2007 Tony Award®-winning director Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening).

“Since its inception, audiences have been surprised by the emotional journey the show takes them on, told almost exclusively through Green Day’s songs, including many they are already familiar with and love,” said [American Idiot producer] Tom Hulce, [as quoted in the show’s news release].

Hulce adds, “This is such a potent time for our country and the search of our characters for what to believe in is gorgeously celebrated through Billie Joe [Armstrong] and Green Day’s wonderfully lush score.”

American Idiot had its world premiere in September 2009 in Green Day’s old stomping grounds at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where it played through November 2009.

The show made its Broadway debut on April 20, 2010 at the St. James Theatre, where it played for 422 performances before closing on April 24, 2011. Nominated for the 2010 Tony Award® for Best Musical, American Idiot won two 2010 Tonys — for Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Christine Jones), and Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Kevin Adams) — plus the 2010 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical (Michael Mayer).

The New York Times characterized American Idiot as “wonderfully raucous” and “emotionally charged.” The First National Tour of the show, which began on Dec. 28, 2011 in Toronto, Canada, includes several cast members from the original Broadway production.

According to the North Carolina Theatre and Broadway Series South:

“Original Broadway cast member Van Hughes will star as Johnny, a role in which he concluded American Idiot’s Broadway run, along with original Broadway cast member 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.

Gabrielle McClinton as Whatserame and Van Hughes as Johnny make beautiful music together in "American Idiot" (photo by Doug Hamilton)

Gabrielle McClinton as Whatserame and Van Hughes as Johnny make beautiful music together in "American Idiot" (photo by Doug Hamilton)

American Idiot will also feature Talia Aaron, Krystina Alabado, Gabriel Antonacci, Larkin Bogan, Jennifer Bowles, Matt DeAngelis, Dan Gleason, Kelvin Moon Loh, Omar Lopez-Cepero, Tommy McDowell, Jillian Mueller, Vince Oddo, and Okieriete Onaodowan.

“‘I am thrilled that we get to share American Idiot with audiences across North America,’ said director Michael Mayer. ‘The creative team and I couldn’t be happier with the stellar group of actors we’ve assembled which includes original Broadway cast members Van Hughes, Joshua Kobak, and Leslie McDonel, along with many wonderful and talented new additions to the American Idiot family.’

American Idiot, a 2010 Tony Award-nominated Best Musical and 2010 Grammy Award winner for Best Musical Show Album, features the music of Green Day with the lyrics of its lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong. The book is by Armstrong and Michael Mayer and direction is by [Mayer].

“The show is choreographed by Olivier Award-winner Steven Hoggett (Black Watch), with music supervision, orchestrations, and arrangements by [2010] Pulitzer Prize [for Drama]-winner Tom Kitt (composer for Next to Normal). The tour features [the] Tony Award-winning scenic design by Christine Jones and Tony Award-winning lighting design by Kevin Adams.

“The acclaimed 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.

Scott J. Campbell as Tunny, Van Hughes as Johnny, and Jake Epstein as Will in the First National Tour of "American Idiot" (photo by Doug Hamilton)

Scott J. Campbell as Tunny, Van Hughes as Johnny, and Jake Epstein as Will in the First National Tour of "American Idiot" (photo by Doug Hamilton)

“… American Idiot is the story of three boyhood friends, each searching for meaning in a post-9/11 world. Through incredible spectacle, thrilling performances, and with the hope embodied by a new generation, American Idiot will give audiences the time of their lives night after night on tour in the same way it did during its acclaimed Broadway run at the St. James Theatre from March 2010 to April 2011.

“The musical features the hits ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams,’ ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends,’ ‘Holiday,’ and the blockbuster title track ‘American Idiot’ from Green Day’s 2004 Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum album. Also included in the score are several songs from Green Day’s 2009 release ’21st Century Breakdown,’ including ’21 Guns’ and an unreleased love song, ‘When It’s Time.’

“… In April 2010, [when American Idiot]l opened on Broadway, … reviews were unanimously positive, with Charles Isherwood of The New York Times calling the show ‘the most adventurous musical to brave Broadway in the past decade’ and the Toronto Star naming it ‘the first great musical of the 21st century!'”

The "American Idiot" tour cast includes (upfront, from left) as Heather, Gabrielle McClinton as Whatsername, and Krystina Alabado, plus (in the back, from left) Talia Aaron, Nicci Claspell, and Jillian Mueller (photo by Doug Hamilton)

The cast of Green Day's "American Idiot" includes (upfront, from left) Leslie McDonel as Heather, Gabrielle McClinton as Whatsername, and Krystina Alabado, plus (in the back, from left) Talia Aaron, Nicci Claspell as The Extraordinary Girl, and Jillian Mueller (photo by Doug Hamilton)

In a review of the current National Tour of American Idiot that he wrote for The Boston Globe just last week, Don Aucoin raved:

American Idiot … is a sustained cry of anger, disgust, and longing, dramatizing the frustrations and fears of a generation that sees nothing but dead ends in what one youthful character calls ‘a land of make-believe that don’t believe in me.’ Feeling bad has seldom felt so good. The national touring production of American Idiot … is flat-out electrifying.”

$26 Student Rush Tickets in the Orchestra Pit

The North Carolina Theatre and Broadway Series South announced last week that at every performance of American Idiot (Jan. 31-Feb. 5), they will sell special Student Rush Tickets in the first two rows of the orchestra pit for just $26 to students with a valid student ID. Students can buy these Student Rush Tickets for $26 in cash only at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium Box Office, starting one hour before show time. There is a two-ticket limit per person.

For details about this offer, click http://www.nctheatre.com/stage-notes/entry/student-rush-tickets-in-the-orchestra-pit-for-american-idiot.

SECOND OPINION: Jan. 29th Raleigh, NC News & Observer preview by David Menconi: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/01/29/1811849/rock-and-relevance.html; Jan. 27th Raleigh, NC WRAL.com blog by Kathy Hanrahan: http://www.wral.com/entertainment/out_and_about/blogpost/10650294/, and Jan. 26th Boston, MA Boston Globe review by Don Aucoin: http://articles.boston.com/2012-01-26/arts/30662036_1_emotional-wallop-pregnant-girlfriend-johnny.

Broadway Series South and the North Carolina present Green Day’s AMERICAN IDIOT at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31-Feb. 3, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4 and 5 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.

TICKETS: $22.25-$84.75 (including fees), except $26 Student Rush Tickets for students with valid ID, sold at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium Box Office for cash only one hour before each show.

BOX OFFICE:

Progress Energy Center Box Office: 919/831-6060 (information only).

Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115203/1550851.

GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-996-8707, group@raleighconvention.com, or http://www.progressenergycenter.com/broadway-series-south/group-sales.

SHOW: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/event/americanidiot-737 and http://www.nctheatre.com/shows/green-days-american-idiot.

VIDEO PREVIEWS: http://americanidiotthemusical.com/media.php.

PRESENTERS:

Broadway Series South: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/broadway-series-south.

North Carolina Theatre: http://www.nctheatre.com/.

NCT BLOG: http://www.nctheatre.com/stage-notes.

VENUE: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/venue/memorial-auditorium.

DIRECTIONS: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/directions.

PARKING: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/parking.

NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh (http://www.artsaccessinc.org/) will audio describe the 2 p.m. Feb. 4th performance.

OTHER LINKS:

The Musical: http://www.americanidiotthemusical.com/ (official National Tour website), http://www.greenday.com/american-idiot (the Green Day website), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Idiot_(musical) (Wikipedia), and http://ibdb.com/show.php?ID=485577 (Internet Broadway Database).

The Album: http://www.greenday.com/music (Green Day’s website), http://www.geekstinkbreath.net/greenday/discography-item/american-idiot/ (GeekStinkBreath.net) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Idiot (Wikipedia).

Green Day: http://www.greenday.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Day (Wikipedia).

Billie Joe Armstrong: http://www.greenday.net/billiejoe.html (Green Day’s website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billie_Joe_Armstrong (Wikipedia).

Michael Mayer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Mayer_(director) (Wikipedia) and http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=15595 (Internet Broadway Database).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

To start your FREE subscription to this newsletter, e-mail RobertM748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TTR in the Subject: line.

To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Review previews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

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