Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Billie Joe on Green Day musical

Billie Joe Armstrong

Billie Joe Armstrong has no qualms about Green Day's music hitting Broadway.

On the new musical American Idiot, the band's frontman said: "What makes a true artist is putting yourself out there and doing things that are dangerous and vulnerable."

Billie, who co-wrote the book for the show, said he felt American Idiot was more than a concept album, adding: "The thought was always for it to be staged or create a film."

On Tuesday, 500 lucky fans got to sample the show's opening number, as the entire cast, which includes John Gallagher Jr and Rebecca Naomi Jones, performed the eponymous title track.

Afterwards, Billie and bandmates Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt addressed the crowd. Before going offstage, the three climbed into a big bed, got under the covers and the entire cast piled up on them.

Based on the 2004 Grammy-winning album, the stage version of American Idiot tells the story of disaffected suburban youth, centring on the adventures of three friends amid the backdrop of the social and political overtones covered on the record.

One of the individuals is based on the Jesus of Suburbia character.

Director Michael Mayer, who co-wrote the book for the show, said he listened to American Idiot religiously back in 2004 on his daily Pacific Coast Highway drive. One day, he thought it would make a terrific show, because "it spoke to a generation of young Americans that were looking for more than what was on their idiot boxes or computer screens."

:: American Idiot opens on April 20 at the St James Theatre. Preview performances began on Wednesday.

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