The Gainesville Community Playhouse Presents Green Day’s “American Idiot”

For the first time in several years, a local Gainesville theater will ditch its typical family shows for an exit commentary on a classic coming-of-age story.

The Gainesville Community Playhouse will debut their rendition of Green Day’s “American Idiot” on May 20. Screenings will continue on select dates until June 12.

The show, which centers on the concept rock album released by Green Day in 2004, focuses on the adolescent angst engendered by the social state of the United States, the military, and the media during this time.

Audience members can expect a 90-minute performance of all songs from the hit album.

Dan Christophy, the show’s manager, said the band wanted the album to be presented through another medium rather than live.

“[Green Day] meant to be played at some point,” Christophy said. “Like a movie or something.”

The band ended up scrapping that idea until they were approached with the proposal to create a musical.

Full of adult humor and topics revolving around sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, the Gainesville Community Playhouse presents something out of the ordinary with “American Idiot.”

“The content of this show is something that is not normally brought to this particular theater,” Christophy said. “There’s a lot of adult content because they’re talking about their lives.”

The production features themes of pure rawness and authenticity; themes that are not typical of other shows held at the theater.

The show’s choreographer, Susan Christophy, says the “Rent” show was the last time this theater experimented with suggestive content, and that was 11 years ago. Although it caused a stir, Susan Christophy can’t wait for the “American Idiot” conversations to begin.

“We’re more of a family-oriented theater,” Susan Christophy said. “But I don’t always believe theater should be entertainment.”

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Instead, Susan Christophy said more plays should echo topics apparent in society, which this show does.

In addition to its mature content, “American Idiot” takes risks in its production by integrating innovative multimedia.

During the show, several monitors will be displayed around the stage. While the actors interpret their own roles, the scenes of propaganda and war broadcast on the screens will add another dimension to the spectacle.

Luke Gilboy, a 19-year-old in UF Geography and actor on the show, looks forward to how these screens can add depth to their performance.

“A lot of this is about real issues, like wars,” Gilboy said. “It’s kind of hard to show the reality of it through the set alone.”

While the show includes short dialogue interjections to drive the plot forward, the majority of the show is sung in the intense rock genre.

With such a difficult score, Dan and Susan brought in former UF music student Sarah Sawyer as the production’s voice-specific director.

Sawyer said most shows have a music director who oversees both the vocals and the music.

Because it was so important for the cast members to preserve their voices while singing “American Idiot,” this production features a voice director in addition to a musical director.

“If you don’t have very good vocal habits, you can really tear your voice up,” Sawyer said. “When you’re doing eight to 10 shows a week for several consecutive weeks, that can really do a number on the cast.”

In addition to singing, the cast will be joined by a live garage band. The group will play from a “garage” on stage instead of the traditional orchestra pit.

To emulate the musicality of a real garage band, Dan Christophy had the three main characters learn guitar before opening night. Dan Christophy’s request was initially met with shocked faces, but he said they were close to getting him back.

Intense singing and new talent aren’t the only complications the cast members had to overcome to prepare for the show.

With limited stage space and no solid genre, the choreography for this musical proved to be as difficult an obstacle as the other elements of the show.

“I think I’ve only been on one other show that had almost as much dancing,” Gilboy said.

Susan Christophy said the choreography is beyond definition.

“It’s a little different in that it’s not hip hop, it’s not African, it’s not musical theatre,” Susan Christophy said. “It’s punk, but it’s punk musical theatre. It’s a whole different genre. »

Despite the difficulties, Susan Christophy said the actors did a great job of challenging themselves to express their character’s internal dialogue through movement.

The directors and cast members said clients should be open-minded and willing to think critically.

Susan Christophy challenges viewers to think about who the antagonist of the series is.

“Do you really know the enemy?” said Susan Christophy. “Is it everyone we want to blame? Or is it a state of culture that we have created?

Sawyer said the content of the production aims to emotionally confront its viewers.

“If you walk away and don’t ask questions,” Sawyer said, “you probably haven’t been paying attention to the show.”

Gilboy agrees that the musical is demonstrative of the story’s tendency to be cyclical.

Although “American Idiot” is set in the early 2000s, the themes remain relevant even to viewers today.

“There are parallels you can draw with current events and current issues,” Gilboy said. “The show dives into real topics and does a great job of explaining and showing these real issues that arise.”

Overall, “American Idiot” is a show that blurs the lines between art and social commentary.

“If you like Green Day, come see the show,” said Dan Christophy. “If you just want to have a good time, this is the show for you.”

Contact Averi at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @averijkremposiky.

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