Character Approved Awards with American Idiot Cast and New AI Trailer

American Idiot on Broadway 30-second Promo – HOT!

Last Thursday, during a massive snowstorm here in New York City, the Second Annual USA Network Character Approved Awards honored ten artists in the fields of film, writing, music, design, and charity. One of honorees was the band Green Day, mostly featuring Billie Joe Armstrong.

I wrote last week that my friend, who has been helping me with excellent buddy-passes for cheap flights to California to see Green Day perform at Fake New Year’s this past November and to see Billie Joe jam with his side project, Pinhead Gunpowder, in February (see Michelle Lawlor’s awesome photos of that here), was invited to the awards with his roommate, who was blogging about the event. Needless to say, I was a bit jealous of the fact that he was going to this event, particularly since neither one of them were into it as a whole. I (halved) jokingly railed on my friend that it wasn’t fair that he was going and that I couldn’t. At the same time, I made sure to remember that the Lushie Gods are good to those who spread the Lushie karma around, so I was keeping my head on straight about the entire thing, until the day the awards happened and I was like, oh shit, really, you get to go and honor my favorite band on Earth AND see the cast of American Idiot perform?? No fair! LOL.

A few hours before the event, my friend phoned me and asked me a magical question: would you like to go to the event with my roommate? My frozen New York winter heart melted then and there and said, “well, I look like crap, there’s no way I can go home to change before the event, and yes, I’d be happy to go!”

We arrived at the Frank Gehry-designed IAC building on the West Side Highway, where the event was being held at 7:00 PM and despite the horrible weather outside, the place was crowded. We checked in, I went to the bathroom and breathed, and wondered if the band would show up. They didn’t show up, but after a few Maker’s Marks with coke (sacrilege, I know), I drank in my disappointment and enjoyed my anticipation of the performance by the American Idiot cast.

I waited for the event to start by standing near the front of the stage where the cast was to perform, and ran into a fellow that I knew from New York University back in the day and chatted with the bartender who kept my double Maker’s Mark glass full. The people around me were really nice and I made a dude laugh when we talked about the winter weather and how much he loved it but I hated it, and then I called him “Honey” for some reason, and he cracked up to no end. I blame my reverse misogyny and verbal diarrhea on the Maker’s Mark…

USA Network Character Approved Awards American Idiot Cast Stage, 2010

USA Network Character Approved Awards 2010

Royal Pains star Mark Feuerstein introduces Characters Approved



Some dude's band being honored at the USA Network's Character Approved Awards, 2010

After the vignettes of the ten honorees were introduced by USA Network’s Royal Pains star Mark Feuerstein, it was time for the Idiots to perform. They rocked it out! I was so happy and proud of them, I was smiling from ear to ear! They did a hot version of “Holiday” (which I listened to while pumping my fist and screaming “hey” at the appropriate moments), a soulful rendition of “Wake Me Up When September Ends” featuring John Gallagher, Jr., (Johnny), Mike Esper (Will) and new addition to the cast, Stark Sands (Tunny), and ending with the full cast again for a rousing rendition of “American Idiot.”

The crowd, who was probably being exposed to the music of Green Day and, especially the cast of American Idiot for the first time, was that New York sort of rude for the start of the performance, literally having to be “shushed” for the start of the show. They talked through the quiet “WMUWSE” number, but by the time “American Idiot” rolled around, they were clearly captivated with the American Idiot cast.

After the show, I saw the arranger of American Idiot, Tom Kitt, who I had seen perform at Joe’s Pub the Tuesday before and told him how much I loved the show’s arrangements. He’s done such a superb job of taking the music of my beloved American Idiot and the songs used for the show from 21st Century Breakdown and making them into grand and powerful Broadway/punk songs. I cannot gush more about what he has done in translating the music to the stage. Kudos to him!

I also spoke with Rebecca Naomi Jones (Whatsername) and Alyssa Umphress (Ensemble) for a hot second, ran into Theo Stockman (Ensemble) and told him that the show was going to “fuck up Broadway in a good way,” and spoke with one of the sweetest people on the planet, John Gallagher, Jr. Gallagher has slowly won me over from his performance that I saw at the Berkeley Rep, particularly after seeing him perform his own music at the Rockwood Music Series back in January in New York, and seeing how earnest and sweet of a young man he is. Do not miss the chance to see him and the entire cast when the show opens on Broadway. I’m serious, you won’t regret it.

I didn’t take many pictures, but I have one really bad and dark one of the cast right before they sang:

American Idiot Cast USA Network Character Approved Awards 2010

What I do have, though, is a video of the cast singing “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” Until the the “man” takes it down… I’ll share it. Nice harmonies between Will, Tunny and Johnny and the arrangement… can’t say enough good things about it all around.

Apparently a bunch of other stars where there such as Jeff Goldblum and Maggie Gyllenhaal, along with some of the other Award winners, but I didn’t see them. I was there to honor Green Day, a band that has meant so much to me, particularly over this past year. The boys deserve a crazy award such as being “Character Approved” for their always innovative move toward the future. They are characters, and as the first to bring punk to Broadway, I approve of them and the entire American Idiot cast and crew, despite my own issues with Broadway. Broadway needs an exciting musical to inject and breathe some life into it and I am also happy that I got to report back to the Green Day Community about the event as well. Hella good times!

See you on The Broadway!

Other articles on the event:

Media Bistro – Fishbowl NY

Backstage article with the American Idiot cast

Herald-Dispatch Photos

Getty Images (none of American Idiot cast)

About Green Day Mind

Writer, blogger, archivist, not a mom. Two cats. Goes to a lot of punk shows. View all posts by Green Day Mind

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