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Entertainment behind the scenes

Punk rock gets more respectable with Green Day musical

March 31, 2009

(Writing and reporting by Dean Goodman)

Green Day, the California rock trio who arguably did more than any other act to bring punk to the mainstream, are developing a stage musical based on their 2004 hit album “American Idiot.”green-day

The production, also titled “American Idiot,” will premiere on Sept. 4 at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, in the northern California university town where the band first gained a following.    

The musical “American Idiot” follows working-class characters from the suburbs to the Middle East, as they seek redemption in a world filled with frustration, according to the band’s music label, Warner Bros. Records. An onstage band will accompany an ensemble of 19 young performers.    

The show will be directed by Michael Mayer, one of the creative minds behind the edgy Tony-winning musical “Spring Awakening,” who is a collaborator on the musical’s book with Green Day frontman and lyricist Billie Joe Armstrong. 

“American Idiot” includes every song from the Grammy-winning smash album, as well as several new songs from Green Day’s follow-up, “21st Century Breakdown,” which will be released worldwide on May 15. 

As with “American Idiot,” which sold 12 million copies worldwide, the new album sustains a running theme. Divided into three acts, it follows a young couple through what the label described as “the mess and promise” of the young century.    

Perhaps the most notable rock album to become a musical was The Who’s 1969 rock opera “Tommy,” which began a two-year run on Broadway in 1993. It won the Tony Award for best score, while the cast album won a Grammy.

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