Category Archives: Green Day's American Idiot (Musical)

Billie Joe Armstrong Interview from NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross

In case you missed it today like I did, Billie Joe Armstrong was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.  You can listen to the interview and read an article on NPR here.

From the NPR article, here are some highlights from the interview:

Interview Highlights

On Finding An Escape In A Small Town

“The first time that you escape from home or the small town that you live in — there’s a reason a small town is called a small town: It’s because not many people want to live there. So to try to get out and see something more — for me, I had a place called Gilman Street, it was a punk-rock club up in Berkeley, and I was just introduced to a lot of new ideas. I think that was my escape. And there was another moment in time where I felt empowered because I was getting another education that I wasn’t getting at home anymore, or from the schools that I had to go to. It was just this feeling of, ‘I’m out of prison.’ ”

On Feeling Lost

“In every song I write, whether it’s a love song or a political song or a song about family, the one thing that I find is feeling lost and trying to find your way. I think “American Idiot” is a series of questions. I think “Holiday” is a series of questions. It’s like, you’re trying to battle your way out of your own ignorance … like, ‘I don’t want to be an American idiot. What I want to be, I’m not sure, but I just want more. And I’m willing to take the risk to try to get out of that.'”

On Getting Naked During Performances

“I used to do it a lot right after Dookie came out. I was arrested for it in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I did it at Madison Square Garden, ’cause I didn’t know if I was ever going to play Madison Square Garden again, so I said, well, there’s one way to remember this occasion — to be the guy who was naked on stage at Madison Square Garden. And then it came down to a point where everywhere we played, the cops started showing up and started saying, ‘If this guy gets naked on stage, he’s going to be arrested immediately.’ And sure enough, it happened eventually in Milwaukee.”


“Oh Baby Baby, It’s F♥♥k Time” Bracelets

BJA with "It's Fuck Time" Bracelet by ToniAnn. Photo by ToniAnn Graffigna

ToniAnn, an awesome Green Day fan from New York City, was at both Foxboro Hot Tubs shows this past April 23 and 25, 2010, at Don Hill’s and the Bowery Electric. As you may have heard, the Foxies introduced a new song at these shows called “It’s Fuck Time.” (See video and read about the Don Hill show here.) ToniAnn was so… uh… inspired by the Tubbies song, that she created bracelets with the phrase, “Oh Baby Baby, It’s Fuck Time!” on them. Unfortunately, the company that she got them from wouldn’t let her put “FUCK” on the bracelets, so F♥♥K it is!

ToniAnn saw Billie Joe on the street outside of American Idiot on Broadway last week as she was waiting to give some of the bracelets to cast members of the show. According to her story below, Billie Joe loved it! So I guess that means it’s “street approved by BJA.”* (Read ToniAnn’s story below.)

If you’d like to order one for cost (ToniAnn is not making money from this), email her at FBHTbracelets@gmail.com. DO NOT SEND HER CASH until after you have spoken with her by email. She is going to order a second batch soon, so if you want one, particularly in time for the upcoming North American tour and taking into account wait periods for production and shipping, now is the time to order one.

Here’s her story in her own words:

American Idiot/Billie Joe experience May 18, 2010
Wednesday at 8:41pm

So, a few days ago, me and Steph decided we were going to go see American Idiot on Tuesday, along with my friend Billy. It was raining the entire day. In the morning I was thinking of not even going into Manhattan at all. Steph hasn’t seen the play yet and I said to myself ‘eh, fuck it I’ll go’. [The last time I debated going to the city in the rain, I met all of GD on 3/12/2010]. I went to school, came home, called Steph, got ready and etc.

When I got home, I had a package waiting for me…….the glorious ‘O BABY BABY ITS FUCK TIME’ bracelets!! Well…since the company fucked up my bracelets they say ‘O BABY BABY ITS F♥♥K TIME’ which is still very cute by the way. I took a few with me to the show, because I was going to give one to a few of the cast members.

So I get into the city, walked in the rain to ESPN zone, used their bathroom [haha], met up with Steph, and we walked to the St. James Theater. Lottery was at 5pm, cause the show last night was at 7pm. Billy never made it to lotto, but that’s okay since me and Steph didn’t win anyway. They had a limited amount of box seats so we went with those. We took right box, and then left to go to McDs to eat and bullshit about whatever haha….so finally, we walked back to the theater, and took our seats. I was also very annoyed because once we got to the theater, my phone died.

So like 10seconds before the curtain rises…..I look down to the orchestra and I saw like ‘STEPH THAT’S BILL SCHNEIDER’S FUCKING SIDE BURN!! OMG HOLY SHIT THERE’S BILLIE AND ADIE!’ [then the curtain went up.] So the show starts and all I’m thinking is ‘omgomgomgomgomg I must see him sometime before he leaves!’ So….the show was amazing as always. Me and Steph went to the lobby before “Good Riddance” was on, to look at some merch and etc….all of a sudden, Billie walks out the door, escorted by Eddie [or Frank for those who will LOL at this lmao], and goes through the cast entrance. Eddie comes back, pats Steph on the back and goes ‘He’ll be at the bar a little bit later hang tight!’ and walked away. We were like OMG DID HE JUST TELL US WHERE BILLIE WAS GOING TO BE?!?

Everyone from the theater started leaving, and then a security guard approached us, we told him the deal, and he told us to go to the glass doors outside. Once we got outside, we found out that the cast of GLEE was there [who I didn’t see AT ALL].

Now Billy said goodbye to us, and like 5mins later, not even…….Bill Schneider, Adie, Eddie, and Billie come towards the door. Me and Steph were like UHHHHH….so now Billie comes out and his face like fucking lit up and he’s like HEYY….so I of course asked for a picture, and I wish this was taped because he threw his arm up and in his cute little voice he goes ‘YEA YEAH OF COURSE!’ so Steph took the pic of me and Billie, and then I was like ‘can u take one with her too?’ and he’s like ‘YEAA SURE!’

Now at this point, Steph is trying to spit out that she played “Jesus of Suburbia” last year at MSG on July 27…and she couldn’t get it all out so she was like ‘do you remember me….’ and I was like ‘yeahh she played “Jesus of Suburbia” and he was like ‘yeah yeah I remember you! My friend watches that video all the damn time!’ [GDM: View and read about Stephanie’s awesome performance of JOS at Madison Square Garden here.] So then I took their pic, and Steph started to show Billie her tattoos and then I was like ‘OHH I have something for you’ and he’s like ‘ohhh really?!’ So I stuck my hand in the bag and pulled out the Fuck Time bracelet. He looked at it, and idk who the hell he was taking to and he’s like ‘OMG OMG NO FUCKING WAY THIS IS SO GREAT DO U SEE THIS OMG!!!’ so me n him at the same time were like ‘picture with it’ haha so he took one with the bracelet and then we all got hugs. We couldn’t even deal with the fact that he even remembered the both of us cause he said something like ‘oh yeah and u have a tattoo too’ and like I think I butted over him about the bracelet LOL.

BJA Street Approved. Graphic by ToniAnn Graffigna

Here are two more pictures from ToniAnn and Stephanie with Billie Joe, who’s looking a little like he just got off his shift at Best Buy with the shirt and jacket combination:

BJA with Toniann. Photo by Stephanie Vera-Tudela.

BJA with Stephanie Vera-Tudela. Photo by ToniAnn Graffigna

Michael Esper. Photo by ToniAnn Graffigna

John Gallagher, Jr. Photo by ToniAnn Graffigna

ToniAnn tracked down John Gallagher, Jr. and Michael Esper and gave them bracelets as well. As you may know, John and Michael are in the cast of American Idiot and were also at the FBHT Bowery Electric show.

*Disclaimer: the bracelets are not officially endorsed by members of the band or cast… just beloved and… street approved


Theater Talk with Armstrong and Mayer

Michael Mayer and Billie Joe Armstrong recently were interviewed about American Idiot on a local television broadcast entitled, “Theater Talk.” The interview is pretty good and the official download of it may be found at the following link: Theater Talk: Billie Joe Amstrong, composer-lyricist Michael Mayer, director, on “American Idiot,” based on the album by Green Day. This was taped on 4/16/10 and runs for a 1/2 hour. In case you can’t watch the Real Media link above, Bastard_of_1967 converted the files for Youtube. You can watch them below for however long they may stay on Youtube.

Part I

Parts II and III after the Break!

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American Idiot On Broadway Preview and Opening Weeks

Green Day Over Broadway. Photo by Gavin Boyd, Rolling Stone

Four dates in the life of the Broadway baby called American Idiot stand out for me since seeing the show in Berkeley back in September: The invited Press and Fan Final Soundcheck on 3/23/10, the first preview on 3/24/10, opening night on 4/20/10 and the MTV Special Viewing that occurred on 4/22/10. Since I live in NYC, I had the great fortune of attending all of these special events. This post is a roundup of some of the goings on with the show this past month here in NYC.

Press and Fan Final Soundcheck 3/23/10

An unprecedented invited Press and Fan Final Soundcheck was announced through the Idiot Club and the American Idiot on Broadway Facebook page a few days before the show was to begin its first Broadway preview. The soundcheck press conference occurred in the middle of the day and I made arrangements with work to take a long lunch to go. I attempted to get a blogger press pass and wrote a professional letter to the show’s press agent, and included the name of one of my friends, a top NYC theater critic, who recommended that I write to them. Unfortunately, I wasn’t afforded the courtesy of a reply. At least when I asked at Berkeley, they very kindly sent me an email saying no. I don’t want to sound bitter, but I know that both the production company and press agent for AI have come to this blog. Some sort of reply would have been nice, but I’m not legitimate enough for the courtesy of a reply in New York City. I even mentioned to them how I appeared in the Daily News regarding the show. In fact, several Facebook friends asked me “what I did for the show” and one of them, a television producer who I’ve known since acting school also asked me. And yet… well… whatever. No reply at all. At least a no is a response.

Putting aside all of that, the final soundcheck was a magnificent day. We waited outside for the Idiot interns to check us in, and they recognized me from the American Idiot On Broadway Facebook page and said hello. After about an hour, I went across the street from the theater to wait for the band to show up to take pictures, and shortly thereafter, Green Day was driven up to the theater and deposited at the front doors. I managed to snap two shots of Billie Joe, Mike, and Tre coming into the theater. It was nice to see Mike for the first time with his blond hair, and Tre was carrying what seemed to be a drumstick case.

American Idiot Soundcheck Billie Joe and Tre, 3/23/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

American Idiot Soundcheck Mike, 3/23/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

After they moved into the theater, I went back across the street to wait with everyone, and eventually, the first fifty fans in line, who had been told that they were going to sit in the Orchestra seats, were let in first. About 10 minutes later, the remainder of the line was shepherded into the theater up to the Mezzanine. The folks who had been told that they were going to sit in the Orchestra were actually sitting in the Mezzanine with the rest of us. Official word was that there were too many people in the press corps in the Orchestra, and needless to say, the first fifty fans in line were disappointed. I have a feeling that they were afraid that people would try to rush the stage and attempt to get autographs from the band or cast, a very legitimate possibility.

We bitched and moaned with them for a few minutes, and then the lights started to go down and the sounds of the opening strains of the musical — news and television clips from the Iraq War era — began to play. The huge red velvet curtain slowly went up and the cast stood onstage with their backs toward the audience (a definite and effective change from the Berkeley show), all looking toward the 20 or so television screens embedded in Christine Jones’s excellent set design for the show. The guitar riff to “American Idiot” began, and the cast was off, singing the title song to the show.

American Idiot Sound - Tre Climbs in Bed, 3/23/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

AI Cast Headbanging During "American Idiot" Soundcheck. Photo by Green Day Mind.

After the song, director Michael Mayer, Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool, and Mike Dirnt walked onto the stage to loud claps from the crowd in the peanut gallery. Mayer spoke for a bit about the show and his inspiration and collaboration with Billie Joe on the book. Billie Joe spoke, then Mike, and Tre said something for a second. While Tre was talking, Mike and Billie climbed into the onstage bed prop, the cast piled on top of them, photo ops were had by all, and the event was over. I went back to work while the rest of the Green Day Community gang hung out and went to lunch. Green Day and the cast headed over to Sardi’s, a famous restaurant down the street from the St. James known for its Broadway clientele for more interviews with the “legitimate” press.

All in all (and despite my bitching), the press conference was a great way to start off the feverish run of American Idiot in New York City. The celebration lasted for a solid month and ended with a spectacular bang with good reviews, solid changes to the show, a special MTV showing with the band, hanging with old and new friends, and one of the best After Parties Ever — two appearances by the fabled Foxboro Hot Tubs (more on the latter in a later post).

APRED Clip of American Idiot Cast Singing “American Idiot” and Press Conference, 3/23/10

More of my pictures from the Press and Fan Soundcheck may be found here.

First Preview, 3/24/10

I didn’t intend to go to the first preview and hadn’t bought a ticket for that night. My first “official night” of seeing American Idiot was actually scheduled for 4/7/10,  but a bunch of Idiots had traveled from around the country to come into New York to see the show, and one of them, sadly, couldn’t bring her friend as planned because of her friend’s cancer treatment. She had an extra ticket so I offered to give her some cash for it (which I still have to do), with the proceeds going toward her friend’s cancer fund. The show at this point was in the working stages from the move from Berkeley to Broadway, and they were working kinks out and adjusting to the larger set and staging of the show. I was quite impressed with the changes in the choreography, the storyline, and the passion that I felt from the cast. Over the course of time from the first Preview to Opening Night, I saw the show three times (3/24; 3/27 and 4/7) and noticed that there were several changes and reworkings during that time until Opening Night and the MTV Special Viewing. (All together, between Berkeley and Broadway, I’ve seen the show seven times.)

Green Day, of course, was there that night, and it was a three-ring circus! Their wives and kids were in the audience and just before the curtain went up, Billie Joe’s bodyguard (a nice guy who I’ve spoken with a few times who does an excellent job of crowd control and protecting Billie Joe) brought him down to sit next to Adrienne. They were so damned cute together, too. I didn’t stare too much, being the nonchalant New Yorker that I am, ahem, but of course, a stare or two couldn’t be helped during the show. There was a palpable excitement and nervousness in the air as the audience, clearly in the show’s corner for an exciting time, was bouncing up and down in their seats in anticipation.

After the show, the circus continued outside. I’m not a fan of getting autographs or photos with famous people, so I just hung around outside until I could find the contingent of folks I had come to the show with. The sidewalk outside of the St. James was packed with people, and many folks had to stand in the street just to let people pass through. Of course, those of us standing in the street kept getting yelled at by cops and security to get out of the street. I would move along, put a foot on the sidewalk, and then head back into the street while people crowded the sidewalk.

Here’s a video link to the scene outside of the theater on the first preview.

Billie and Adrienne and Rebecca Running to Sardi's after the first preview. Photo by Green Day Mind.

American Idiot First Preview After Show Madhouse, 3/23/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

Eventually, the cast started to roll out of the theater on their way back to Sardi’s for the preview after party. They were asked for autographs (you can see Stark Sands, “Tunny” being mobbed in the photograph below), and after it calmed down a bit more, probably 30 minutes or so after the show when some of the crowd had dispersed (but not by much), Tre kind of quietly walked out a side door to the restaurant first, followed later by Billie Joe, Adrienne, Rebecca Naomi Jones (Whatsername), Mike and Mike’s wife, Brittany. My friends and I went down to Sardis and stood outside for a bit, watching Tre stand in the window of Sardi’s looking down at the crowd. Girls were screaming up a storm, and I’ve got a bad reputation for telling them to shut up (sorry, I just hate screaming girls or boys, my bad), so after awhile, I got tired of the spectacle and headed back down to the theater. Tony Vincent came out and we said hello to each other (we met at Berkeley and spoke online during the Berkeley run), and eventually, John Gallagher, Jr. came out of the theater, after most of the crowd had dispersed or were at Sardi’s. John knows me by name (probably because I drunkenly told him at Rockwood that he needed to bring more of the angst and also from talking with him at the Character Approved Awards a few months ago), so it kind of shocked me that he remembered my name.

John Gallagher, Jr. at Rockwood, 1/18/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

When I first saw the show at Berkeley, I wasn’t impressed with his performance, but then again, I had major issues at the time with the entire show. My biggest concern was that during the Berkeley run when I saw it, I didn’t see the seriousness of the material coming from him nor did I feel the depth of the character. I also say that off-Broadway runs and previews are the time for steeped criticism, particularly in regards to something one feels passionately about, and I’m a jaded theater person from back in the day. If everything is perfect at the beginning, there is no room for improvement. And shows and performances can always be improved. John steadily won me over, as I was pulling for him, particularly after I saw him perform his own material at his residency at Rockwood on the Lower East Side this past January. He’s a heartfelt kid, super-sweet, and a talented dude who obviously is in love with this show and the band. Watching him grow into the role of Johnny has been a pleasure and I give him all the kudos in the world for a brilliant and successful run. And I hope he gets a Tony nomination as well. American Idiot is one of the most bone-breaking shows I’ve seen on Broadway. These kids, led by Gallagher, throw themselves around that stage, and every night Gallagher leads the way. I’m sure it’s not easy.

My Wall Signature.

Once John went inside the restaurant, things got pretty tame outside of the St. James, but people were still bat-shit screaming in front of Sardi’s. The kids outside couldn’t get into the bar at Sardi’s, but since my friends and I are of age, we hung out in the bar at Sardi’s and talked with the bartender who has worked at Sardi’s for years, a real old skool New York character. Outside some of the kids were yelling up to the 2nd floor window asking that Billie make an appearance and show them his tattoos. He did, and then one girl screamed for him to sign her arm for a tattoo when he left the bar and he mimed that he would.

At some point during the night, I went upstairs to the bathroom, where the after party was taking place, and walked right into Brittany Dirnt. I didn’t say anything to her. Heck, what are you going to say to someone in the bathroom? When I walked out, Mike was on the phone near the bathroom and Gallagher was hanging out talking with people. I went back downstairs and chatted for a bit longer. I left at 12:30, but the others stayed until 1:00. I guess I should have stayed for another 1/2 hour, but I had to work the next day. From what I understand, the cast and eventually Billie Joe came out of the party and Billie Joe asked for a “fucking” cigarette. (Yes, he does smoke on occasion, get over it.) My friend who had taken me to the Preview was just about to put a cigarette in her mouth and instead, she gave it to him. Bonus! LOL. Oh, and he did sign the girl’s arm, too.

Here’s a video of Billie at the Sardi’s window and coming out of the restaurant, with cigarette and signing.

Opening Night, 4/20/10

American Idiot Opening at the Irish Rogue. Photo by Michael Gary.

What can I say about Opening Night? By this time, I had seen the show three times in New York, and I was ready to just sit back and enjoy what was about to happen. The opening was a star-studded event, with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Michael J. Fox and Donald Fucking Trump… oh and a bunch of Idiots who are stars in my book. I didn’t see the Donald, and that was probably a good thing, but I did see the other three, and that was a good thing, too.

Green Day Bracelets in Front of the St. James, Opening Night. 4/20/10.

We Idiots met for dinner and a powwow at the Irish Rogue, having snacks and drinks. Carolyn had brought new Green Day Friendship bracelets to the theater, and she had an extra one and gave it to me. I already had one, but I took it anyway, in anticipation of seeing the show with Becky Walter (of the Facebook page Green Day LIVE on Tour) on 4/22/10. Becky was flying in from Minnesota to New York for the first time ever for the MTV Viewing on 4/22.

We walked down to the site as a group and got more excited as showtime came closer. Our seats were in the balcony and with the crowd, it took a bit of time to get up there. I wasn’t sitting with the Idiots from the restaurant, unfortunately, but I was anticipating meeting up with two special friends, Rachel and Michelle, who were sitting next to me. We three had shared some incredible moments out in Berkeley over the last few months, and Rachel was there to help manage the Mystic Knights of the Cobra tour that was starting the next day and Michelle is the spectacular photographer who took photographs of the Pinhead Gunpowder show back in February. She’s also the girlfriend of the bassist (Jim Graz) of Honah Lee, the accompanying band with the Cobras on their Party! Party! Party! Tour of the East Coast. The tour had been something I was hella looking forward to for months now, and I knew that when I saw them, that the REAL party was about to begin. More on that in a coming post.

The audience, if possible, was even MORE excited to see the show than on the first preview. Everyone was dressed to the nines and there were a few times when the audience shouted out lyrics to the songs with the cast, which was very exciting. I loved it.

After the show, we made our way downstairs and waited around for a little bit to say hello and goodbye to people. We were standing in the St. Jimmy Bar and as I was trying to walk into the area, my bag poked Ed Norton really hard in the ass. (Lucky bag.) He turned around and I apologized, and he smiled, and since I was looking hella good, he looked for a bit longer than usual. And I let him. Haha. And then I turned away and decided that the only thing I wanted to do was leave and hang out with Cobras and start the next phase of this wondrous opening week. So we hopped in a cab and went downtown.

The Real Party Begins. Hanging with the Cobras in the East Village, 4/20/10.

I did not go to the Opening Night Party, but the Green Day Community’s Katie McPansy Grogan won the American Idiot on Broadway Facebook contest. She had a fabulous time in NY, got to meet the band, interviewed Rebecca Naomi Jones, had excellent seats, and went to the After Party. I highly recommend visiting Katie’s Video Blogs of American Idiot on Broadway Opening.

A Shout Out to Nicole.

Lastly, a word of thanks to Nicole Gary. Nicole and I met on the Green Day Community and have been theater buddies in NYC since then. We were also in the Daily News photo shoot together back in March. She told me on opening night that she had attempted to get me a press pass for the After Opening Party festivities and had almost succeeded, but things didn’t work out. Thank you, Nicole, for believing in me and my blog, and for being a good buddy. I appreciate your friendship.

MTV Special Viewing, 4/22/10

J’net (an awesome moderator at the Green Day Community, thank you!) had bought us tickets to the 4/22/10 showing when tickets first went on sale. At the time, tickets weren’t on sale for Opening Night, so 4/22 was the next best thing going at the time (and it proved to be pretty amazing). I was hoping for something weird and special, as I had heard that weird and special things might happen on this night, so I was in weird and special mode. When tickets went on sale on 4/1/10 for Opening Night, I regretted my decision a bit to attend this performance. The Cobras and Honah Lee had played the night before at Arlene’s Grocery, and they were off to Asbury Park for a show at Asbury Lanes. Truthfully, I wanted to be with them as I don’t get to see them very often. But, we make our choices and I had to work on Friday anyway, and ok, shoot me, since all in all, I’ve been way lucky and it’s all good.

Minnesota Gal in NYC. Becky of Green Day LIVE on Tour Comes to NYC.

Things always work out best for those who love the Lushie Gods. Becky Walter, a friend of Niki Lee’s (Seize the Green Day), had won tickets to the MTV Special Viewing but was a bit panicked about making her first major trek from a small town in Minnesota to New York City. I had seats in the Mezzanine that night, but I told her that I would help her navigate through Manhattan and she gave me her second ticket. Niki, Dorie and I talked her through it and encouraged her to take the bull by the horns and conquer her fear of coming to NYC by herself. After all, we don’t bite… hard… here. We told her it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and she really wanted to come see the show, and having free tickets was half the battle since the ticket prices can be high. She flew in the day of the show, walked to my work to pick me up so that we could navigate down to the difficult to find Pop2Life offices for the tickets, and then whizzed uptown to meet folks at the Westway Diner for dinner. We proceeded to the venue a bit later and I gave her the Green Day Friendship bracelet that Carolyn had given me the day before. Our tickets were in the left Orchestra, not far from were I sat on the night of the first preview. Also, by Becky giving me the ticket, Andres from the Green Day Community was then able to share this special night with everyone by taking my original Mezzanine seat with J’net, Dawn, and Sherri. The Lushie Gods are good!

As the show was about to begin, Armstrong, Dirnt, and Cool family members walked in and filled the seats in the Center Orchestra. Billie Joe’s mom is the cutest thing ever, and she was beaming from ear to ear. Adrienne walked in with her and sat about two rows from us. As the curtain bells were ringing, The Edge from U2 entered and sat in the Center Orchestra not far from us, followed by Tre, Mike and Brittany, and finally, Billie Joe, who sat in the aisle seat next to Adrienne. Needless to say he caused a stir when he came in, but then the lights went down and the curtain went up.

Is this thing on? Green Day sings during American Idiot on Broadway. Photo by Green Day Mind.

It was kinda funny looking at him as an audience member. He was mesmerized by the show and his mouth was kinda hanging open in amazement the entire time, but something kept distracting him and he ran out of the theater twice during the performance, but came back in. Just as the show was ending, Green Day left the theater and a stage tech brought two mikes onstage. Afterward, the band took their rightful places onstage with their kids, the cast of American Idiot. Billie Joe had some issues with his guitar set-up for a minute, but they worked it out and he noted that it was “his first time on Broadway.” The crowd stood up as they came on and were treated to the “real” version of “American Idiot” and a great rendition of “Basket Case.” The month-long ride from Preview to Opening was complete, and this new baby called American Idiot was on Broadway.

Y’know what… I missed seeing them onstage

Green Day sings on Broadway, 4/22/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

Green Day sings on Broadway During American Idiot, 4/22/10. Photo by Green Day Mind.

All in all, it has been a great ride with American Idiot, and I’m glad that the show is up and running and is good. It’s gotten exceptional reviews for the most part, and ticket sales are good. It’s fucking up Broadway, and in my book, that is always a good thing. I’ll write up something one day with my thoughts on the actual production, but really, just go and see it and make up your own mind is all that I can ultimately say.

I will say, though, that seeing Green Day back onstage made me realize how much I just wanted to see them perform again. The cast is great and the score is wonderful and kudos to everyone involved in the show, but Green Day is… well… Green Day. I silently offered supplications after the MTV Special Viewing, “please let the Foxboro Hot Tubs play a show this weekend, please let me get to see it.” Cause you know what? There is nothing like Billie Joe, Mike and Tre onstage together. And luckily, the Lushie Saints granted my wish. Twice. More on that in a later post.

And with that, faire thee well, American Idiot on Broadway. May you have a long life and prosper, may your actors stay healthy with no broken bones, and may you always Fuck Up Broadway.

After the break, stay tuned for ToniAnn and Fallyn on MTV being interviewed about the show and some additional links.

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American Idiot on Broadway Opens Tonight!

Broadway Billie in Red Hat by Erial Grove - London, O2, Oct. 24, 2010

It’s finally here, what has to be the craziest night of Green Day’s life (and I’m sure they’ve had some crazy times!): the opening of their musical, American Idiot on Broadway. The cast album is out today, the opening will be streamed online at the American Idiot on Broadway site, and I’ll be there! Maybe tweeting here and there here.

But for real live tweeting, follow Katie McPansy, who will be tweeting from the red carpet and the after party! Katie’s Twitter is here and her Youtube channel can be found here.

See you Idiots on Broadway! Break a leg!

American Idiots on Broadway


Hero Volunteers Wanted for Partying in NYC: MKOTC, AI, GD, FBHT… FBHT?!?

In these strange days of exploding volcanoes, political teabagging, and general everyday crappiness, sometimes the only thing you can do to get through it all is to take a party break. As someone who was very politically involved for the last 20 years, I have taken a 21st Century Breakdown Tour Party Break. As such, I readily offer myself as a volunteer for some epic and heroic PARTY duties during the coming week. I recommend heading down to your favorite city if you can as we are recruiting volunteers here in Party Central NYC and we need YOU!

MKOTC: Heroes Aren't Born - They Volunteer!

I have been looking forward to the week of April 19-24 ever since I heard that the Mystic Knights of the Cobra were going to be in town to rock out at four venues in New York and New Jersey: Arlene’s Grocery on the Lower East Side (4/21), Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park (4/22), Don Hill’s in Tribeca (4/23) and the Millhill Basement in good old Trenton (4/24).

I have also been looking forward to seeing American Idiot on 4/22, the day after its Broadway opening, since AI tickets first went on sale back in January or February. Tickets then unexpectedly went on sale on April Fool’s Day 2010 for American Idiot’s opening night (the Holy Lushotology Day of 4/20), and now I’ll be sitting in the balcony on my favorite band’s craziest night of their lives watching while their iconic 2004 album of the same name officially enters the pantheon of Old Broadway. There just might be a few loud audience “AMENS” coming from the balcony during “Holiday.”

The week may get even better, too.  The Reverend Strychnine Twitch tweeted the following to the masses this past Thursday: “Ladys and germs!The tubbies are officially in nyc! Ready to stop drop and bukak! Oooh! Baby girl! Stay tuned for a big bash soon? STING” and I knew our Lushie Nuns Paradise supplications had been answered. Still no word on venue, but the Rev has given us manna from the Twitterverse and it’s all good. And Rich Russo tonight on RXP101.9 announced that the Foxies show will be on Sunday, 4/25, at midnight at a venue that will be announced the day of the show. Oh… and there are only 120 tickets available. Wow. Good luck to us all with that one.

Even though there are so many wonderful things happening this week, what I look forward to the most, though, is partying with old and new friends. Cause that’s what this week is going to ultimately be: Party! Party! Party! Sometimes, partying and enjoying good company is the only thing you can do in the face of so much that is wrong with the world. I hope to see you there. And if you can’t be here, party it up wherever you may be. After all, this week does have a Lushotology Holiday: 420 Day! Here’s to the week ahead!


Idiots On Broadway

UPDATE: I mentioned yesterday the Amazon.com link to the American Idiot cast album, but I didn’t post the link to the site. I was trying to get this done fast so that I could head off to a fitting for a movie shoot that I was asked to do and then realized I couldn’t do the shoot because I couldn’t get off of work. The story of my life and acting. Oh well. Anyway,  you can listen to excerpts of the songs as sung by the cast at the Amazon site. The album “features” Green Day and includes the never before recorded song, “When Its Time” sung by Billie Joe Armstrong.

Give My Regards to Broadway

"American Idiot's" Green Day Caricature by Ken Fallin

The caricature, a portrait of one’s physical features styled in an exaggerated manner, is an old art form and has a long history and tradition on Broadway. Actors, playwrights, producers, directors, choreographers, composers, and sometimes designers, get their own caricature portrait, usually epitomizing the person at a particular time or moment, in a show, on a set, etc.  Sardi’s Restaurant, directly down the street from the St. James Theater on W. 44th, is legendary for its customers, who tend to be the movers and shakers of Broadway. The restaurant has a long tradition of hanging caricatures of its famous guests throughout the dining area and bar. Wikipedia says the rumored common thread among those hung in the place: they have all eaten in the restaurant. Now that’s marketing!

You may have heard about wild and crazy antics breaking out at Sardi’s after the first preview on 3/24. I’m sure that Sardi’s hasn’t seen that kind of action over a show since the 1950s. (See here – Vince Mediaa link – and here – GD fans ask Billie Joe to sign tattoo and go a little nuts outside of Sardi’s – for videos.) Maybe a portrait of this type will eventually make its way onto the walls of Sardi’s one of these days? Personally, I used to dream about having one at the famed restaurant as a kid. Though, I’ve only had drinks in the bar, I’ve never eaten there (but I’m pretty sure that I’m far from eligible anyway, lol).

The caricature of Green Day is by the modern-day caricaturist,  Ken Fallin as seen on the theatrical website, Broadway World. Thanks to Nicole for finding the photo.

You may have heard of the artist, Al Hirschfeld. Hirschfeld was the premiere caricaturist of the Broadway theater for a good portion of the 20th century. A master of his craft of illustration, there’s a great Youtube video of him drawing another legend of the theater, Paul Newman, from a production of “Our Town.” Hirschfeld was 99 years old at the time. The drawing took eight hours, but not because of his age. You can take a look here.

Preview Madhouse, 3/24

Billie and Adrienne and Rebecca heading to Sardi's after the first preview. Photo by Tanya Elder

I’ve had the good fortune to see the show three times on Broadway now, including the first preview (a benefit of living in the Greatest City on Earth, New York). I am pleased to report that I am thrilled with the production. During its run in Berkeley, I had some constructive criticisms of the show, and it was difficult to have a differing view from other die-hard fans. I’m a grouchy and jaded, NYC theater goer, so I’ll get over it. As far as I was concerned, the Berkeley run wasn’t meant to be polished. It was meant to be criticized and pulled apart and put back together again in order to make the show even more fantastic when, and if, it got to its destination. Afterall, that’s what a trial run of a Broadway show is all about. American Idiot is now in previews at the St. James Theater and ends this coming 4/19.

When the show opens on 4/20, it will be set, and it will be perfect.

I was able to buy a ticket to the show on 4/20 — International Pot Day — otherwise known as the Broadway opening of Green Day’s American Idiot. As they do in the theater, I’m going to wait to offer my review of the show until it officially opens. I’ll be in the balcony that night, along with a bunch of other Idiots. I will say that I am happy and quite pleased with the work done on the show. It shows more depth and feeling all around. Bravo!

Night View, American Idiot on Broadway Billboard. Photo by Tanya Elder.

I do want to highlight something that Time Out New York recently wrote in an article entitled, “Green Day’s concept album could revolutionize Broadway” by Rob Weinert-Kendt:

Though Mayer added little dialogue to Armstrong’s often impressionistic lyrics, he hopes that by sharing words among a dozen performers, he’s created a kind of found-text libretto for a multi-pronged narrative that entwines city, suburb and battlefield.

I have read others say that the story is “weak,” but I’ve always maintained that the story was adequately served (see my Book overview here) not only by the album’s lyrics, but also by the liner note-type “monologues” that appear in the few special editions of the album version released when American Idiot (see scans of the liner notes here) first came out and I stick to that. It certainly is a “soundtrack to a life” script or even a “portrait/snapshot of life” and I think that Mayer and Armstrong successfully found a way to make the lyrics and music stand out, combined with aspects of video, spoken word, captions, images,  all coming together to present a visual sense of what it feels like to head toward  a mental blow-out — as the mover of the story’s narrative arc. “Found-text libretto” is a good way to describe the mechanics of American Idiot‘s underlying book — a snapshot of memory affecting everyday life. It’s the most experimental feature of the show, and I like its hazy memory quality. Each piece of “found text” throughout the show contributes to the story.

OMG Greenday.com

New York Daily News article on the Greenday.com site

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Mike Chickenman, Nicole Gary and I (as well as 12-year-old Ethan Udell, who I don’t know), appeared in a feature article on the show in the New York Daily News. I’m happy to say that both Greenday.com and Greendayauthority.com posted the scans on their sites! The three of us had a slight “21st century breakdown” when we saw it on the official site on 4/3. We all swooned a bit.

American Idiot on Broadway Facebook

If you haven’t been visiting American Idiot on Broadway’s Facebook or Main page, I suggest you do it you are interested in the show, opinions about the show, contests, and fan- and newsbuzz. While the FB site got off to a slow start, they have started posting up some great stuff, including Youtube videos of a backstage view of the theater with actor Ben Thompson, and the assistant director Austin Regan talks with guitarist Alex Berlin. (Thanks to Grassmah Girl for the correction!) The site also had an awesome contest for SUPERFANS to attend opening night, and tweet about the show from the show and attend the After Party. I didn’t enter the contest, and there are five or six Youtubes videos that I think are fantastic, three of which are terrific. There is one in particular that I have in mind that I hope wins, but I’m not gonna say what my favorites are until the winner is announced. Good luck to everyone who entered!

The Tony Awards

The Tony Award nominations are coming up on June 13th, and as I’ve noted before, Green Day’s European-tour leg, which kicks off May 29th (so far, at least, and it will be GREAT to have the band back on the road again), has a built-in break around Tony time. Unless some concert in Europe is going to pop up, which I doubt, Green Day will be flying from Austria to New York to Manchester (maybe?) because buzz has American Idiot winning Best Musical of the 2009-2010 Tony Season.

We’ll see. First of all, before that pans out, the Tony Committee has to meet in order to haggle over which shows are eligible for what categories for this season. Here’s an interesting article on who is allowed to vote this year. It also talks about American Idiot‘s biggest competition, “Fela!” The fellow who is predicting that American Idiot will win for Best Musical and Enron for Best Play will be nominated/win in their respective categories has some interesting things to say about “Fela!” that I had not considered before. Thanks to Justin for finding the article.

Mayer on Armstrong Interview – Playbill.com

This article from Playbill.com is a must read and listen-to. Michael Mayer interviews Billie Joe Armstrong about American Idiot, and talks about what happened at the Grammy After Partys.

LOGO Drama Club Interview

This interview that appeared on the LOGO Network cracked me up. It’s from LOGO’s Drama Club. I think it was the music. And Tre’s favorite, The Drowsy Chaparone was a good show that I wish I had seen. Oh well.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

eBay Auction – Two Front Row Mezzanine Seats for Final Preview, 4/19

My friend Diane is auctioning off two tickets to the final preview of American Idiot on 4/19. Diane was to travel to New York with her friend to see the show. Unfortunately her friend has breast cancer and will be unable to come to New York at this time. Diane and her community of friends in the Northwest are helping as her friend goes through cancer treatment, so she is also unable to attend the show that night. I was fortunate to see the first preview of the B’way version of AI with Diane. I’m glad you got to come and see the first preview and all the best with your friend!

All proceeds from the auction go to her friend’s cancer treatment fund. She does not have health insurance.

Original Cast Recording, MTV’s PUSH, Buzzworthy, and 4/22 contest

I posted last time about the back cover of the American Idiot Original Cast Recording. Green Day’s Facebook and site posted the front cover this past week, and again, thanks to Justin, Amazon.com says that the album will drop on 4/20. You can also pre-order until then, a copy at the theater. Just fill out a form and pay at the time. (h/t plaidducky) Lastly in the American Idiot on Broadway realm, MTV and Green Day have combined together to present many “Buzzworthy” presentations of AI on Bway. MTV’s offices look down from Broadway onto 44th street where the  St. James Theater is located, according to MTV’s twitter. Whatever one may say about corporate blahdeblah, I gotta say, this is an excellent move on MTV’s part. MTV is giving away tickets to a “Special Performance” of the show for April 22nd. I have no idea what this entails, by being special… but I’m going to the show that night as well. Hmm. Whatever could “special” and MTV mean? Double hmmmm. You can enter the contest here.

And with that, I’m off! Don’t forget coming up, Billie Joe on Bill Maher (last night, 4/9), and the Jimmy Fallon show is being taped here in NYC on 4/14. Later!

See the cast album cover after the jump.

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Idiots Take Broadway in 24 Hours (with Cast Album Track List)

American Idiot Cast Album Track List - Courtesy of deshabillage

A little over five years after Green Day’s American Idiot hit the music world gobsmacked in the face with a new sound from the band and a fierce story of suburbia, despair, longing, and American teenage angst, the Broadway version of the show is about to take the Great Green Way by storm in 24 hours with its first preview on March 24, 2010.

Yes, you heard me correctly, American Idiot, an album made by those “snotty punks” from the 1990s is going Broadway, baby, and if word on the street is correct, it’ll be a movie as well, as rumors (leaked yesterday and timed quite well, I might add…) are swirling around stating that Tom Hanks’ Playtone production company is in talks with the boys to take it to the big screen. And that’s the place where Billie Joe, Mike and Tre wanted it to be in the first place. I have a feeling it’s going to happen.

Theo Stockman posted this 1993 interview with the boys on his Facebook page the other day. If you want to see some eerie foreshadowing, take a look at this hilarious interview where Tre mentions that “Green Day rock opera available on very small records!” and Mike talks about calling it “Jimmy.” Say what you will, but these boys knew their destiny a long time ago. But man, are they so young looking in this clip and yes… dare I say it… stoned! LOL.

“Green Day rock opera available on very small records!” – Interview with Green Day on the Bookmobile, 1993

Today, Tuesday, March 23rd, is the final dress rehearsal, which happens tonight. That means that invited guests will be attending the show as if it’s going up from start to finish, unless some technical snafu gets in the way and they have to work it out during the production. Final dress, however, is usually conducted from start to finish and then the cast may sit down for a slew of notes from the director.

Prior to that however, the boys and the production will be holding a press conference for 500 or so lucky fans (LIKE ME!!!) today at the St. James. We’ll be heading into the theater at around noon today and from what I understand, Billie Joe will introduce director Michael Mayer who will then introduce the cast. Afterward, the cast will sing a few songs from the show and the press will go off and post their commentary in time for the papers tomorrow and the entertainment news shows tonight.

I was very lucky this past weekend to be featured in the New York Daily News with two other fans that I know, the crazy but sweet Mike Chickenman (you may remember him as the hardhat guy from MSG1 back in July) and Nicole Gary. We did a photo shoot at the theater a few weeks ago and then were interviewed by Gina Salamone of the Daily News. Unfortunately, the NYDN hasn’t put it on their website (they are never known for being a smart publication as they would have gotten a crap load of hits if they had), but luckily it was scanned very professionally by Nicole’s husband, and you can read it below.

In the meantime, I can’t imagine what is going through Billie Joe’s mind right now. All I have to say, is breathe, man. You are going to take Broadway by storm.

"The Great Green Way," by Gina Salamone, New York Daily News, 3/21/10

"The Great Green Way," by Gina Salamone, New York Daily News, 3/21/10


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


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Broadway Billie… and where have I been?

Broadway Billie with Red Hat by Erial Grove - London, O2, Oct. 24, 2010

Broadway Billie

When I saw Green Day at the London O2 back in October, I brought a shiny red hat all the way from New York for Billie. When he asked for it during King for a Day, it was a semi-perfect toss and a great catch and he just looked like the perfect Broadway showman. The video below isn’t the best, but at about 3:58, you can see him catch it, parade around, and then do his best little James Cagney impersonation.

King for a Day – London at the o2 – October 24, 2009 – Bad Video, but it shows Billie catching the red hat at 3:58.

At the first O2 show the night before, I stood for the first time near the end of the catwalk. It was a spot that was enjoyable but I won’t do again. I like to see all of the band, and not just BJA. I had my “Green Day’s American Idiot” t-shirt on from the Berkeley show and someone had given Billie a pink fuzzy hat (I think it was my friend Gerg). The next thing I know, he looked at me with a slightly wicked smile and literally did a James Cagney in “Yankee Doodle Dandy” move with the hat in his hand. I swear to God he saw my shirt. I had by this time seen five Green Day shows and I had NEVER seen him do this move before… straight outta B’way. I still crack up with laughter when I think of it.

Now, American Idiot is on Broadway, opening to previews in March and tearing up box office records at the St. Jimmy… er… St. James Theater. Billie’s alter ego, St. Jimmy, is played by Tony Vincent, and Vincent got a nice write-up interview in the New York Times the other day.

Where Have I Been?

And to the question, where have I been? Well, I went to California to see Pinhead Gunpowder on 2/12/10 (read J’net’s GDA review here!), but a death in my family and a proofreading project have temporarily halted me from writing about the Pinhead show. I really hope to do that soon, and to be back with more stuff. I saw Tom Kitt, the arranger of American Idiot, perform at Joe’s Pub last night, and if, by the time I can get back here, I remember the show, I’ll write about that too.

Oh, and can you believe this? My friend got invited to the Character Approved Awards, which will be honoring Green Day (along with a bunch of other great artists, writers, and designers) and where the American Idiot cast will be performing on 2/25/10. He doesn’t even like Green Day! Haha. Oh well. But he is the friend who has managed to get me cheap airline tickets to California, so as I like to say, Green Day karma gets spread around to those who wait on and love the Lushie Gods. LOL.

I don’t know when or if the awards will be shown on television, but I do know that Billie looks very manly in the pic below. Some kids at the GDC didn’t like it, says he looks too old. I say, he looks great for his age.

Congrats, Green Day!

Billie Joe Armstrong / Green Day Character Approved Awards Honoree