From the Berkeley Repertory Theater Company
Green Day’s performance at Madison Square Garden back on July 27th was not only a great romp by the band, but also featured a dynamic young woman by the name of Stephanie Vera-Tudela. She was pulled on stage by Billie Joe Armstrong to play lead guitar for the epic “Jesus of Suburbia,” playing the tune so well and with such panache that Armstrong eventually screamed out, “I fuuccking lovve youu!”
[CLICK LINK TO VIEW ARTICLE ON STEPHANIE BY ROB PUTNAM]
Green Day Shredder, Stephanie Vera-Tudela – Music Connection – Article by Rob Putnam
Rob Putnam interviewed Stephanie for the Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 online edition of Music Connection. The active link to the article at Music Connection is no longer working. The link above will take you to a PDF of Rob’s article on Stephanie. Thanks to Rob for letting me post the article! Sorry it took a bit of time to update this!
I’ve just gotten back from the East Bay and had the best Green Day adventure ever! Haha. Seriously, I went to see American Idiot (twice), and hung out with old friends and new ones. It was a blast. The East Bay is one of the most beautiful places on Earth… that I know of.
As to American Idiot, I had some interesting reactions over the two nights that I saw the musical, one night a bad reaction, the other night, strong emotions of joy. It was a strange experience and I’ll have to post more about it later. I wish I could have seen it a third time so that I could compare the two reactions and objectively take a step back from the emotions. Let’s just say this: with a bit of work on certain aspects of the theatricality of the show, American Idiot, whose music and set alone is worth the adventure it takes you on, is great and ground-breaking.
And no, I didn’t get to meet the band, but I did get to annoy Michael Mayer, and for some reason, that made me very happy.
I’ll post more when I recover from West Coast jetlag.
Prima Donna posted this beautiful logo in burnished silver and gold on their Facebook profile today. Go and friend them. If you haven’t heard them and their retro glam sound, then head on over to their Myspace page and take a listen. I can’t wait to hear them open for Green Day in London. It’s gonna be glam!
A compilation of things past and future:
Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of the release of the album American Idiot, on September 21, 2004 (GDC), and as I mentioned in Coming Soon I, the boys took a ‘working’ vacation for the month of September. While it seems that it’s been a tad slow without the band on tour, some big things have happened to them: a performance at the VMA’s, resting with the family, tweaking a possible Broadway-bound show, and putting out a new live EP. It sounds a bit daunting for ‘vacation’, if you asked me.
I’ve been a bit overwhelmed myself, as my rental management company cashed my rent check.. twice! Woot. bwahaha. Needless to say, this was the LAST thing that needed to have happened, particularly since I’m heading to Oakland this week to see some rock musical I hear is playing out there. Carrying on…
Last week, on September 17, 2009, the premiere of the musical, Green Day’s American Idiot occurred, after two weekends in previews. Green Day won a MTV Moonman for Best Rock Video (voted on by fans) this month and performed the shit out of “East Jesus Nowhere” on an exceptionally whacked-out night of VMA’s. (You know, a bleeding Lady Ga-Ga, and Kanye West’s disastrous, “I’m gonna let you finish, Taylor, but I just want to say, Beyoncé had the best video of all time.”)
It was also recently announced that Green Day has been nominated for three European MTV awards, being held this year on, as someone pointed out at the GDC, on “Guy Fawkes day” also know as the Gunpowder Rebellion or the Day of Bonfires, November 5, 2009. While the date is usually associated with England, the European awards are being held in Berlin this year. (Just remember that, “remember, remember, the 5th of November” came way before the movie…)
Let’s hope that in commemoration of the event, Green Day “will to burn the house down” as they are performing, along with Tokio Hotel, Leona Lewis, Beyoncé, and Shakira. According to Wikipedia, they are performing “21st Century Breakdown,” but I will believe that when I see it. And I hope I see it.
Whatever they play, it will be hard to top their 2005 performance in Lisbon at the awards. Someone posted this at the GDC and I almost spontaneously combusted:
Green Day Perform “Holiday” at the European MTV VMA’s, Lisbon, 2005
Green Day find themselves pitted against the Jonas Brothers in the category of Best Group. I swear if I see the Jonas frigging Brothers win, I’m going to go out and torture kittens, so… (ok, not really), so… vote early and vote often here!
This coming Thursday, I hop on a plane to Oakland! Northern California, here I come! In a three-fold trip, I will see old and newly made friends (two from college, one of whom teaches at the Berkeley Rep School, and one I know from political boards from the old days of Air America Radio, and hopefully some people from the IC and GDC boards), visit Northern California for the first time, and see Green Day’s American Idiot on Friday. I am super-psyched but I’m also a bit exhausted, too, even before I head out there.
Sometime this week, Green Day, along with opening band Prima Donna, will be flying to Europe to kick off the European leg of the 21st Century Breakdown tour. The first date occurs on Monday, September 28, in Lisbon, Portugal.
While I am in a holding pattern, as it were, waiting to head off to Berkeley, I was looking at a great set of photographs posted by a friend on Facebook. They were taken by a company called Polite in Public at the premiere of American Idiot, including this beautiful shot of Adrienne and Billie:
Nothing Wrong with Me pointed out a few photographs of Tré with, I believe, cast members:
Levi Strauss is one of the sponsors of American Idiot, like Verizon was for the North American tour. Additional photos in this series, with audience, cast, and band members, is a must view here.
Coming up for me next month: London. Four days. Green Day. Prima Donna. 23 and 24, October.
greenday.com posted a new interview with the band on the making of American Idiot. It’s a good interview, though it starts off with some slow and inane questions and the band looks eternally bored at certain times. They warm up to the questions eventually and there are some funny moments, particularly when Billie Joe says that Tré Cool choreographed the show. At the end, there are two very very brief clips of the show live. The video can’t be embedded, so go here and view it.
Greenday.com has put out the second (“American Eulogy” being the first, which was a shortened video of the song*) live clip from Green Day’s North American tour. This one is of my favorite song from 21st Century Breakdown, “East Jesus Nowhere” and it will make you want to JUMP! Turn the volume past 11 and DO IT!
update: There is some confusion on the Green Day fan clubs as to whether this video now constitutes an “official” release since greenday.com noted two weeks ago that “21st Century Breakdown” was going to be the next single. I am not really sure what is now going on in the Singles department, but if there are simultaneous releases of both songs, officially or unofficially, I am down with that. I love “East Jesus Nowhere”!
*hatthip to MassHysteria for pointing out the video from Greenday.com; post updated 9/19/09
Local Bay Area ABC News Report with the band and on the show, Green Day’s American Idiot.
*Nothing Wrong With Me noted that Green Day Mind had posted this video, but I’m a loser and hadn’t, so now, I am!
If you are a fan of a punk or pop band (or a punk/pop fan for that matter) as well as the theater, you rarely would think of your favorite band creating new wonders for what some believe is the old, worn out, medium of live theater.
I thought I’d never see the day when a rock band from the 21st century would endeavor to bring an album to the stage again. The night before I saw Green Day perform live on Good Morning America in May at Central Park, I saw a production of the The Who’s Tommy performed by the Gallery Players in Brooklyn, NY. The musical was fabulously performed, with an earnest, fresh cast, and though the show itself is a a bit dated, the love for the music never dies with Tommy. Who can’t rock out to “Pinball Wizard” or get emotional with “See Me, Feel Me” or be mesmerized with the eerie premise of “Fiddle About” or be astounded by the power of “Acid Queen”?
Yet, the rock musical coming directly from a band these days is a rare proposition. Traditional Broadway crowds don’t like the loud, bold sounds of rock on their stages, but Broadway needs fresh musicals, the backbone of the Broadway economy, to survive. Current Broadway musicals like On the Heights (a great show originally performed downtown that moved to B’way), Rock of Ages (a show that you have to pay me to go see), Mama Mia (really? really?) and Billy Elliot (I’m glad all three kids who play the title character won Tonys, but I’m not paying $100 to see it) are thriving somewhat at the moment, but all in all, Broadway needs a few good, loud, raucous and audacious, pure rock musicals for a shot in the veins. Certain musicals, created by less-Broadway traditional musicians or theater folks, such as Rent and Spring Awakening, bring excitement and freshness to the stage and lure in new audiences that replace the older, staler B’way theatrical models. Mind you, I have never seen either Rent or Spring Awakening in full, mostly because I have issues with over-hyped productions of any sort, but I follow Broadway closely enough to know the storylines, the music, and the impact that both shows had on bringing new audiences into the theater and shaking up the status quo.
Well, there’s at least two rock-based shows on off-Broadway currently making their way to the big stage over the next nine months that will impact Broadway in a positive way: Green Day’s American Idiot and Lizzie Borden The Show, though Lizzie Borden does not originate from a band’s album. So let’s get back to the original premise: it’s good to know that in the near future, an actual band will bring some fresh spunk to the Broadway stage, and that band is Green Day and that show is American Idiot, which officially opened at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre on September 17th.
While it’s not a done deal that Green Day’s American Idiot (or Lizzie Borden for that matter), will actually make it to the Great White Way, it’s a forgone conclusion at this point that more than likely it will. It’s got everything going for it: powerhouse Broadway veterans such as Michael Mayer (Director) and Tom Hulce (Producer), and a cast that is incredibly talented, including Spring Awakening lead John Gallagher, Jr., the irresistible Tony Vincent, and Rebecca Naomi Jones, of the Passing Strange cast, and this isn’t even taking into consideration the band, Green Day, or their seminal 2004 album, American Idiot. All of this equals one thing potentially: next stop, Broadway.
Green Day’s American Idiot, in previews for the last two weeks, opened to generally good local reviews today, including reviews in newspapers such as the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Fransisco Examiner, and the San Jose Mercury News, and blogs such as SFist, The Dope Report, and a review/report on the opening night from Rolling Stone. All of the reviews were generally positive, with some constructive criticism thrown in, but for the most part, positive. Of course, not everything is honky dory, as in this hyper-negative review from Jim Harrington at the A+E Blog from the Mercury News. It’s so hyper-negative, though, it kind of sounds as if the guy thought that the band was playing, and not a cast of 19 and a six-piece backup band. Harrington, who is a fan of Green Day, has nothing positive to say, and I find it difficult to believe that he found nothing redeeming in the show after reading the other reviews. Maybe he was just having a “Red Tide” moment, as it were.
On the whole, reading reviews from Green Day fans at the Green Day Community as well as the majority of reviews above, I’d say that with a few tweaks in the storyline (it’s consistently noted as weak), American Idiot could land in New York and London’s West End.
Just in case it doesn’t happen, however, Billie Joe has the right attitude toward it all, as reported in the New York Times:
For his part Mr. Armstrong, whose early Green Day performances were at 924 Gilman Street, a well-known local performance space, said he’d love to see the show make it to Broadway. But he’s not worried if that doesn’t happen.
“I think that would be cool,” he said of a New York run. “But if it ends up playing Gilman Street, that’s cool too.”