American Idiot will be touring the UK in 2016, direct from its season in London’s West End, which is where I saw it at the Arts Theatre. It is a modern rock opera – a story of three young men, frustrated by the suburban drudge of their lives, struggling to find meaning and direction in a post 9/11 world. It charts their choices and progress, and relationships, highs and lows. The show is based on the music of US rock band Green Day. Lyrics are by lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong, who wrote the script for the show with Michael Mayer.
Green Day released their American Idiot album in 2004 and the album went multiplatinum. It has sold over 15 million copies and won a Grammy for Best Rock Album. Last year, the band were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, confirming their reputation as one of the biggest rock music acts of the last 20 years. Each of the hit songs from the concept album - Boulevard of Broken Dreams, 21 Guns, Wake Me Up When September Ends, Holiday and, of course, title track American Idiot – form the musical’s score. Also included are several songs from Green Day’s 2009 release 21st Century Breakdown, and an unreleased love song, When It’s Time. While on Broadway, the musical won two Tony Awards and took the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. Actor Alexis Gerred, who plays one of the three boyhood friends, Tunny, has been nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the upcoming What’s On Stage Awards. Loud, powerful, energetic, and at times quite dark and raw, the action runs at quite a pace. I guarantee that you’ll leave the theatre with the songs thronging in your head!
As GTW went to press, it was announced that Singer Newton Faulkner (think long ginger dreadlocks!) is joining the cast. He’ll play the role of Johnny, replacing Matt Thorpe, when the show arrives at Leicester’s Curve Theatre later this month (March), and will stay with the show until May 7 at the New Theatre in Oxford. Newton attended Italia Conti Stage School in London and the Academy Of Contemporary Music in Guildford, where he developed a playing style that enables him to produce an array of percussive effects on his guitar. His first album, Hand Built By Robots, topped the charts in 2007. Amelia Lily will continue in her key role as Whatsername. She finished third on the eighth series of The X Factor in 2011. Her debut single, You Bring Me Joy, was released in 2012 and reached number two on the UK Singles Chart.
See pages 76 and 77 for upcoming tour dates. For more information on the show, see www. americanidiotthemusical.co.uk.