American Idiot on Broadway closes tomorrow, April 24, 2011, after 400+ performances. What a long, strange trip it’s been and a pleasure watching the show develop from Berkeley to Broadway and move on to the silver screen. The last chapter from album to Broadway to screen is in the works, with Tom Hanks producing, Michael Mayer on as director, and negotiations happening between Hanks’ Playtone Productions, Universal Studios and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for his screenplay Milk, and writes the HBO show, Big Love.
The movie is still in the negotiation phase, but if I were a betting woman, I’d say a movie adaptation of American Idiot will happen sooner rather than later. In the meantime… the Broadway show is closing, and while a part of me is greatly saddened, another part of me is satisfied with the fun and successful run. Broadway shows close, it happens all the time.
In my mind, the show experienced its closing when Billie Joe, Michael Esper, John Gallagher, Jr., Christina Sajous, and Stark Sands left the company in February, especially when Esper, Gallagher and Sajous left and they were in the original Berkeley cast. I was lucky to see Van Hughes play the role of Johnny a lot since John Gallagher, Jr., left. I love John, he’s the most amazing human being on earth, but I’ve had a great time watching Van play Johnny over these last few months. While I think that Hughes is a solid replacement for Johnny’s role, I miss how fast Christina could whip around and hit that high note in “Extraordinary Girl” while spinning in the air; I miss Stark’s amazing voice and stint as Tunny; and I miss Michael Esper’s heartfelt melancholy as Will on that damned couch. Don’t get me wrong, Justin Guarini, Declan Bennett, and last night’s Will, Jason Kappus, have been great, but Michael… Fucking… Esper… sigh… will always be Will to me. As the Frustrators say… “all good things… must end,” and a year’s run on Broadway is a hella long time for a show in B’way years.
Endings bring new beginnings, and for John Gallagher, Jr., it brought a role in the critically acclaimed, Jerusalem, which I saw in previews recently and quite enjoyed. I haven’t gotten to see Michael Esper in Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide yet at the Public Theater, nor Mary Faber in How to Succeed in Business or Sajous in Baby, It’s You yet, but I will… once AI closes and I have cash again. While there are new adventures to bring on, I will never experience again a Broadway show like American Idiot. First of all, I’ve never been heavily invested in Broadway’s life as an experimental theater student back in the day, and frankly, there hasn’t been a show that has caught my attention on Broadway like American Idiot has…. and never will again. Of course, being that I’m a Green Day fan, the show has an extra special touch to me, but being that I’m also a huge fan of theater though not of the Broad Way, it has helped me to appreciate it a little more though I will sadly, never fall in love with the Great White Way.
Back in the day, when I was in theater school at New York University, I did a play that was a in classroom-workshop for three months and then performance for two weeks called Danton’s Death, directed by Anne Bogart. It was an incredible time for me and my fellow actors, just learning our craft, and one of those periods of time were you work on a show or project for many months and your fellow performers and co-collaborators become a family, with a rich, tight bond. Many of the people from this show drifted away after many years, but we’ve managed to say hello here and there and cherish every second of that time we spent together.
Billie Joe posted a really lovely Tweet last night about the nature of seconds over the next four shows to closing tomorrow night at 7:30 PM in New York City on 4/24/2011… and it reminds me of those Pinhead Gunpowder dogtags that Abbey Fox made so long ago with the saying, “Every Second.” For the cast and creators of the show and those of us, whether near or far, who have grown to feel like American Idiot is a family, of sorts, it will be a sad time indeed to see this phase of life end. All I can say is thanks, Broadway, for making it possible. Thanks for all of the good times, excellent music, hi-jink shenanigans, fucking up of Broadway, introduction of awesome actors, musical gigs from the talented cast as well as their voices singing Green Day’s songs, Billie Joe’s introduction to theater (may he come again in another show or write one!), and all of the St. Jimmies, and of course, Green Day itself for creating those very seconds that will be missed. Missed but not forgotten, even as they fade away into memory.
I won’t say goodbye, I’ll just say, bon voyage until the next creative phase comes around!
Green Day Mind American Idiot Post Highlights and Green Day Authority Podcast
The Green Day Authority invited me onto the podcast earlier this week to talk about the Broadway show as well as the upcoming movie. Here’s the link, if you’d like to listen in: Podcast 37 – American Idiot Musical Broadway Finale, now for The Silver Screen!
Here’s some blog posts that I’ve written over the last year about the Broadway opening, the American Idiot talkbacks, etc, in case you want to relive those seconds. But first… My favorite seconds… my blog being mentioned at the American Idiot talkbacks:
Green Day Mind mentioned at American Idiot talkbacks, September 2010
I also quite enjoyed being in the New York Daily News with Mike Chickenman and Nicole Gary so long ago, before the show opened, which made it onto GreenDay.com, too!
The Complete Archive of posts that mention American Idiot on Broadway.
Next Stop: Broadway?
Idiots On Broadway
American Idiot On Broadway Preview and Opening Weeks
Theater Talk with Armstrong and Mayer
Broadway Billie Joe Makes His Debut On Broadway and London Billie Joe on B’way Flashback Moment
A Week With An American Idiot – Idiot University
“But I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive like suicide…” Original Goodnight New York Lyrics
My initial reactions/critique of the show from Berkeley can be found here, here, and here.