Genesius Theatre in Reading revives its 2016 musical production of Green Day’s Broadway hit “American Idiot” in an outdoor event on May 21, 22 and 23 under the Big Top at Willow Glen Park in Sinking Spring.
Nominated for the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical and the 2010 Grammy Award-winner for Best Musical Show Album, “American Idiot” features the hits “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “21 Guns,” “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.
Author and director Michael Mayer, who won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical in 2007 for directing "Spring Awakening," convinced Green Day’s lead singer, Billie Joe Armstrong, that Green Day’s 2004 album "American Idiot" could be transformed into a powerful musical.
A sung-through rock musical, the story, expanded from that of the album, centers on three disaffected young men, Johnny, Will and Tunny. Johnny and Tunny flee a stifling suburban lifestyle and parental restrictions, while Will stays at home to work out his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend, Heather. The former pair look for meaning in life and try out the freedom and excitement of the city. Tunny quickly gives up on life in the city, joins the military and is shipped off to war. Johnny turns to drugs and finds a part of himself that he grows to dislike, has a relationship and experiences lost love.
The book was written by Armstrong and Mayer. The music was composed by Green Day and the lyrics were by Armstrong. The score included all the songs from the original American Idiot album, as well as additional Green Day songs from the 2009 concept album "21st Century Breakdown," and "When It's Time", a song originally only released as a single in Britain.
“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 Tom Hulce, producer of the original Broadway Production, in a release. “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 and Green Day’s wonderfully lush score.”
“In 2016, Genesius was the first local theater in Eastern Pennsylvania to present this sung-through stage adaption of the punk rock band Green Day’s rock opera,” said LJ Fecho, artistic director of Genesius and director of the production. “It’s amazing to me that the political craziness, the congressional grid-lock and the increased threat of terrorist activity, both foreign and domestic, is even more prevalent today than it was back in 2003-2004 when the album was created and released.”
Genesius assembled a rocking regional cast of characters, which includes, Jon Browning as Johnny – the Jesus of Suburbia, Bo Irwin as Will, Daniel Graf as Tunny, Cecilia Cooper as Whatsername, Andrea Keck as Extraordinary Girl, and Dara Himes as Heather. Other cast members include Lorna Graham as Alysha and James Haggerty as Theo and Favorite Son, Jalil Little as Rock and Roll boyfriend, and Gabrielle Lewis-Stamm as Johnny’s alter ego St. Jimmy, as well as a talented ensemble.
Musical director and conductor is Dave Neel, associate music director is Kevin Cooper, choreography is by Jericho Joy; set, lights, projections and special effects are designed by Zack Spadaccia, stage manager is Becka Malanios; and the costume coordinators are Cathy Miller and Dara Himes.
A 501-C-3 non-profit organization, The Genesius 2021 Season is sponsored by Sandy Solmon and Doug Messinger of Sweet Street Desserts. The show, sponsored by Abbe Dillon, will be performed at Willow Glen Park, 94 Park Ave., Sinking Spring, on the grounds of Shocktoberfest. Willow Glen is handicapped accessible. There is ample free parking.
Doors open 7 p.m. with show time at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 each for General Admission, first come, first serve seating. For tickets visit www.genesiusdifference.org or call 610-373-9500, card fees apply. Tickets are also available at the door.
Rated R, this musical contains profane language, drug-use, minor nudity and adult content. Recommended for mature audiences. Also, the production has lots of special effects including strobe lights and haze.
Sponsored by Konopelski Katering and the Winedown Café of West Reading, wine, beer, soda, water and snacks will be available, cash only. No food will be served at this event.
Following outdoor COVID-19 guidelines, masks should be worn except when eating and drinking. The cast will not be wearing masks. Attend the show at your own risk.