Berkeley Repertory Theatre is rocking and rolling with Green Day.
After the success of Stew’s Passing Strange, it seems Berkeley Rep can’t get enough of the rock. Already announced for the 2009-10 season was the world premiere of Girlfriend, a stage adaptation of Matthew Sweet’s album of the same name.
Today comes official word that Berkeley Rep will kick off the season with the world premiere stage adaptation of Green Day’s landmark 2004 album American Idiot.
Band members Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool are collaborating with director Michael Mayer, a Tony Award winner for Spring Awakening. The show, featuring an onstage band and an ensemble of 19 young performers, runs Sept. 4-Oct. 11.
Said Armstrong in a statement: “We are really excited to be working with Michael Mayer on this project. We’d been thinking of bringing American Idiot to the stage, but we 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 in keeping with the spirit of the album. The end result will be terrific, and we’re really proud.”
Mayer said that when he heard American Idiot, he recognized a work that was “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?” Mayer said. “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.”
American Idiot, Green Day’s seventh album, was nominated for seven Grammy Awards and won two, including Rock Album of the Year. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart and spawned five hit singles, including the title track, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Holiday.”
Tickets to American Idiot are available for select preview performances only at www.berkeleyrep.org or at 510-647-2949.
Here’s Green Day’s video for “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”: