Chance Theater, Anaheim’s official resident theater company,announces the regional premiere production of the 2009 rock musical “Green Day’s American Idiot.” Directed by James Michael McHale, choreographed by Miguel Cardenas, and with music direction by Gabrielle Maldonado, “Green Day’s American Idiot” runs July 15 to August 14 on the Cripe Stage of the Bette Aitken theater arts Center. Previews are July 15 to 22 and regular performances are July 23 to August 14.
The two-time Tony Award-winning hit musical “Green Day’s American Idiot,” based on the Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum album, boldly takes the American musical where it’s never gone 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 includes every song from Green Day’s album, “American Idiot,” as well as several songs from its follow-up release, “21st Century Breakdown.”
“Stimulating energy and a vision of wasted youth that holds us in its grip. Invigorating, moving and thrilling! A true rock opera.” – New York Times
“As pure a specimen of contemporary punk rock as Broadway has yet encountered.” – Time
“For the 90 minutes that American Idiot has you in its white-knuckle grasp, it will electrify and overwhelm your senses” – Time Out New York
“Looking for a groundbreaking musical event? You just found it. … ‘American Idiot’ knows no limits – it’s a global knockout.” – Rolling Stone
“This blissful extravaganza makes you think even as it knocks you out.” – Variety
Green Day made its 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 collaborating to bring the work to the stage. Band members had seen Mayer’s staging of “Spring Awakening” and were sufficiently impressed to give him ample latitude in adapting their work.
The stage version’s story, expanded from that of the album, centers on the lives of three disaffected young men: Johnny, Will and Tunny. Will remains at home, struggling to work out his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend, Heather, but Johnny and Tunny flee the parental restrictions and suffocation of life in suburbia, seeking meaning in their existence through the freedoms and excitement of the city.
While Mayer did pull songs from other Green Day albums, he only added dialogue sparsely, convinced that the music and lyrics were expressive enough on their own. Mayer actually removed dialogue from the 2009 Berkeley Repertory Theatre production before the show moved to Broadway. In the end, the show features all of the songs from the album “American Idiot,” some b-sides from the “American Idiot” and “21 Guns” singles, and a few songs from “21st Century Breakdown.”
The Broadway run at the St. James Theatre covered 422 performances from April 20, 2010 to April 24, 2011. While Green Day didn’t appear in the production, lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong would on occasion perform the role of “St. Jimmy.”
The innovative show won two Tony Awards: Best Scenic Design of a Musical and Best Lighting Design of a Musical, while also receiving a nomination for Best Musical. In 2011, its Broadway cast recording won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.
The first international tour of “American Idiot” ran from 2011 to 2014. Worldwide interest in the show sparked multiple productions throughout North and South America, Europe and Australia, in 2015 (Malmo), 2015-16 (the West End), 2016 (San Jose, Vancouver), 2017 (Brisbane, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen), 2018 (Frankfurt and an Australian tour), 2019 (Morristown and a 10th anniversary U.K. tour) and 2021 (Copenhagen).
Joining director James Michael McHale on the design team for “Green Day’s American Idiot” are music director Gabrielle Maldonado (Chance debut), choreographer Miguel Cardenas (“The Secret Garden“, Chance Resident Artist), scenic designer Kristin Campbell (“Yellowman”), OC Theatre 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 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) is 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 debuts as the ensemble.
The executive producers for “Green Day’s American Idiot” are Rachelle Menaker & 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.