Watch a rehearsal of american idiot From the seats of House Right, American director Gavin Hawk delved into the narrative spine of the award-winning Broadway musical, adapted from the 2004 album of the same title by punk rock trio Green Day.
“A lot of what we do is treat every song like a music video,” Hawk explained as the young cast ran, jumped and kicked in unison like a herd of antelope at the members. cowards. “So it tells the story more visually.”
Opening on September 7 american idiot will be the first new production of American Stage’s 2022-23 season.
The sung show follows Green Day’s album trajectory almost exactly, song for song, with a few other band numbers stitched together.
But there is no script per se, according to Hawk. “There are letters read between scenes that help tie things together,” he said, “but some lyrics don’t exactly match what’s happening on stage. It’s more a matter of feel or mood. And music is a support, emotionally.
Emotions are close to the surface. It’s after 9/11 and best friends Johnny, Will and Tunny are unhappy, bored, frustrated and slightly scared about the future.
That’s basically it. It’s the age-old dilemma of early adulthood: Where am I going? What I’m doing with my life? Will I become my parents? And getting pulled in different directions.
Ah, but these three guys have music. And, perhaps even better, they have a tight group of like-minded friends.
“The message,” Hawk offered, “is that friends are the family you choose. And the path to happiness, the path to fulfillment, is to find your loved ones and stay with them. Even if the world gives you shit, you can turn it into something beautiful and cool.
“Because that’s really the punk rock kind of philosophy – am I really good at playing the guitar? No, but I know a few chords, and I can put those chords together and make a great song out of it. I don’t have to play like Jimmy Page, you know? I can play like the Ramones.
The scenic interpretations of american idiot the songs are fiery and melodious, arranged with rich, playful harmonies. Each member of the high-energy cast sings and dances.
There are elements of Hair and Lease in the communal and “tribal” nature of the show.
“I think Green Day followed in the footsteps of the Ramones and has irreverent, silly lyrics — but they also have a lot of really catchy, catchy melodies,” Hawk said. “It’s amazing, the melodies of this show. Even Juan (Rodriguez), our musical director, said, “I’m not a fan of punk rock, but these songs are really, really good. They are Beatle-esque.
The American Stage production, he adds, is a “show,” complete with confetti guns, a blowing bubble machine, hazers and other effects. Plus a live band. “It’s about fury, sound and spectacle.”
The director, who grew up in the punk rock subculture of the 1990s in Southern California, pays a little.
He was 14 when his mother was seriously injured in a car accident. She underwent a year of touch surgeries.
“I was depressed, I stopped eating,” Hawk explained. “I slept all day, I stopped going to school. I didn’t care about anything.
“And then friends I knew from acting class, old people, they just showed up at my house and said, ‘Hey man, get up, get dressed, we’re taking you to a show.'”
It was a Social Distortion performance at a local community college. From the first guitar chord, the music transported him.
“I jump in the mosh pit, I mosh and I fall, I wipe myself…and then there’s like five pairs of hands picking me up, pulling me, patting my back and saying ‘Keep going mate! Carry on, man!
“And that was the metaphor for my life at that time.”
The cast of American Stage includes Nathan David Smith (Will), Zummy Mohammed (Tunny), John Alejandro Jeffords (St. Jimmy), Johnny Shea (Johnny), Ari Glauser (Extraordinary Girl), Mia Massero (Heather) and Analise Rios (Whatshername) .
Find tickets and additional information here.