Chance Theater, Anaheim’s official theater company, announces the regional premiere of the 2009 rock musical Green Day’s American Idiot. Directed by James Michael McHale, choreographed by Miguel Cardenas and conducted by Gabrielle Maldonado, Green Day’s American Idiot runs July 15-August 14 on the Cripe Stage at the Bette Aitken Theater Arts Center. Previews are July 15-22 and regular performances are July 23-August 14.
Based on the Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum album, Green Day’s American Idiot, the double Tony Award-winning hit musical, boldly takes the American musical to a place it’s never been before. This high-octane show follows the journey of a new generation of young Americans as they struggle to find meaning in a post-9/11 world. This powerhouse musical features all the songs from Green Day’s album American Idiot, plus several songs from the follow-up release 21st Century Breakdown.
“Stimulating energy and a vision of wasted youth that holds us tight. Invigorating, moving and thrilling! A true rock opera.” – New York Times
“A pure example of contemporary punk rock like Broadway has never seen.” – time
“During the 90 minutes that American Idiot has you in its grip, it will electrify and overwhelm your senses” – Break New York
“Looking for a groundbreaking music event? You just found it. … ‘American Idiot’ knows no borders – it’s a worldwide knockout.” – Rolling Stone
“This blissful extravagance makes you think, even if it blows your mind.” – diversity
Green Day made their 2004 concept album American Idiot in response to the realities of the post-9/11 era. The band was inspired by similar concept projects by The Who, musical theater hits like The Rocky Horror Show and West Side Story, and the concept album/stage musical Jesus Christ Superstar. When director Michael Mayer heard the album, he approached the band with the idea of performing the work together. The band members had seen Mayer’s production of Spring Awakening and were so impressed that they gave him plenty of leeway to adapt their work.
The story of the stage version, which is expanded from that of the album, revolves around the lives of three disaffected young men: Johnny, Will and Tunny. Will stays at home and struggles to reconcile his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend Heather, but Johnny and Tunny flee the parental confines and suffocation of suburban life and seek meaning in the freedom and excitement of the city .
While pulling songs from other Green Day albums, Mayer added scant dialogue, confident that the music and lyrics were expressive enough on their own. Mayer actually removed the dialogue from the 2009 Berkeley Repertory Theater production before the show moved to Broadway. In the end, the show includes all the songs from the American Idiot album, some B-sides from the singles “American Idiot” and “21 Guns,” and some songs from “21st Century Breakdown.”
The Broadway performance at the St. James Theater ran 422 performances from April 20, 2010 to April 24, 2011. While Green Day did not appear in the production, lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong occasionally played the role of “St. Jimmy.”
The innovative show won two Tony Awards: Best Scenic Design in a Musical and Best Lighting Design in a Musical, while also earning a nomination for Best Musical. In 2011, his Broadway cast recording won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.
American Idiot’s first international tour ran from 2011 to 2014. Global interest in the show sparked multiple productions in North and South America, Europe and Australia, 2015 (Malmö), 2015-16 (West End), 2016 ( San Jose, Vancouver), 2017 (Brisbane, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen), 2018 (Frankfurt and an Australian tour), 2019 (Morristown and a 10th anniversary UK tour) and 2021 (Copenhagen).
Joining director James Michael McHale on the Green Day’s American Idiot design team are music director Gabrielle Maldonado (Chance debut), choreographer Miguel Cardenas (The Secret Garden, Chance resident artist), set designer Kristin Campbell (Yellowman) OC Theater Guild Award-winning lighting designer Andrea Heilman (“Yellowman”), costume designer Bradley Allen Lock (“Fun Home”), sound designer Hunter Moody (“Edges”), Ovation Award-winning projection designer Nick Santiago (“Sweat”) and Stage manager Cynthia C. Espinoza (“Striking 12”).
The cast of “Green Day’s American Idiot” will feature a mix of newcomers and returning actors – Jared Machado (“Next to Normal”) will play Johnny, Eric Dobson (Chance debut) will play Tunny, Christopher Diem (“James and The Giant Peach (Chance resident artist) is Will, Erika Mireya Cruz (Chance debut) plays Whatsername, Angie Chavez (“Next to Normal”) is Heather, Dagmar Marshall-Michelson (Chance debut) will play St. Jimmy, Kristin O’ Connell (“The Secret Garden”) plays Extraordinary Girl, and Jack Aitken, Sophia Barajas and Wyatt Hatfield make their Chance debut as an ensemble.
Green Day’s American Idiot is executive produced by Rachelle Menaker and Eddie Schuller. Bette & Wylie Aitken are producers for the entire 2022 season and The Family of Mary Kay Fyda-Mar are the season’s associate producers.