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'American Idiot' to open on Broadway in April

David Ng
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

It's official. The much-talked-about and blogged-about Green Day musical "American Idiot" has an opening date on Broadway. Producers of the show announced Tuesday that it will open April 20 at the St. James Theatre in New York.

"American Idiot" features music from the Green Day album of the same name, but it does not star members of the popular San Francisco Bay Area punk band. The musical had its world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, Calif., in September. Tony-winner Michael Mayer, who staged the Berkeley Rep production, also will direct the Broadway version of the show.

The plot of the musical follows the journey of the protagonist Johnny, a modern-day Christ figure who travels from a suburban nowhere to the big city, where he must choose between love, drugs and other existential dilemmas. The story also follows a character to the Middle East.

Mayer wrote the book for the musical with Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead vocalist-guitarist for Green Day.

There is no announcement on casting for the Broadway engagement. For the Berkeley Rep production, Tony-winner John Gallagher Jr. played in the lead role alongside Rebecca Naomi Jones and Tony Vincent.

Steven Hoggett will choreograph the Broadway production and Tony-winning composer Tom Kitt will serve as the music supervisor, orchestrator and music arranger. Kitt also contributed string arrangements to Green Day's album "21st Century Breakdown."

In his review of the Berkeley Rep production, Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty called the musical "kinetically entertaining" but added that the plot remains unsatisfying and that the characters are underdeveloped.

Berkeley Rep said that "American Idiot" was the highest-grossing production in its history. The production was extended twice and concluded its run on Nov. 15.

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