Berkeley Rep Announces Creative Team For Green Day's AMERICAN IDIOT, Kitt and Hoggett Join Production
Today Berkeley Repertory Theatre announced the creative team for its world premiere of American Idiot. Based on the Grammy Award-winning album of the same name, the show features the music of Green Day and the lyrics of its frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. American Idiot is being staged by Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer, who also collaborated with Armstrong on the story. It features the work of Olivier Award-winning choreographer Steven Hoggett and music supervisor Tom Kitt, the Tony-winning composer who provided string arrangements for the band's latest album, 21st Century Breakdown. The design team includes Tony-nominee Christine Jones (sets), two-time Tony-winner Kevin Adams (lights), Baryshnikov fellow Andrea Lauer (costumes), and Obie Award-winner Brian Ronan (sound), as well as video designer Darrel Maloney. Berkeley Rep presents the show in association with Tom Hulce and Ira Pittelman, the lead producers of Spring Awakening.
American Idiot will run from September 4 through October 11, opening Berkeley Rep's 2009/10 season in the state-of-the-art Roda Theatre. Tickets are available now at berkeleyrep.org as part of a subscription to the season, which includes six other hot new shows. The remaining seats go on sale to the public on August 16, starting at only $32 - half that for anyone under 30 years of age.
"We've been working with Michael Mayer and the show's creative team for quite some time, so we know how super-talented all of them are," Armstrong remarks. "Each and every one of these people has gone above and beyond for this show, and we can't wait for our fans to see it."
"It's an incredible experience to create a modern rock opera with one of the most innovative and clever bands in the world," Mayer comments. "We are excited to put this show in front of a sophisticated Bay Area audience."
"American Idiot is an iconic rock album from a band that hails from our hometown," adds Tony Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Rep. "It requires a singularly talented creative team to
re-imagine this music for a traditional theatre setting. We are proud to collaborate with Green Day, Michael Mayer, and a small army of artists to bring American Idiot to the stage. This is an ambitious project, and I believe it will showcase the full measure of Berkeley Rep's resources and talents."
Green Day won two Grammys - Best Rock Album and Record of the Year - for its multi-platinum American Idiot, which sold more than 12 million copies worldwide. Now the band brings that explosive album to the stage with the director of Spring Awakening, which nabbed eight Tony Awards in 2007. American Idiot follows working-class characters from the suburbs to the city to the Middle East, as they seek redemption in a world filled with frustration - an exhilarating journey borne along by Green Day's electrifying songs. This high-octane show includes every song from the album, as well as several new songs from 21st Century Breakdown. With an onstage band and 19 young performers, American Idiot receives its world premiere at Berkeley Rep, the Tony-winning playhouse that launched last year's provocative rock musical Passing Strange.
American Idiot earned effusive praise from the press upon its release. It is "a fearless and politically astute rock album, a richly melodic song suite that gives voice to the disenfranchised suburban underclass of Americans," declares Rolling Stone. "The ambitious American Idiot joins an elite list of albums, such as The Who's Tommy, Pink Floyd's The Wall, and The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, that successfully weave a narrative through music," asserts Amp. "For an album that bemoans the state of the union, it is irresistibly buoyant," adds Time. "You will hear a story about Jesus of Suburbia, his dangerous friend St. Jimmy, and a heroic girl called Whatsername, who are struggling to express their individuality in a mass-media culture."
Green Day - vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt, and drummer Tré Cool - were loud, snotty, scrappy kids from working-class backgrounds who came of age in the underground punk scene in Berkeley. Even though they had released two records prior (1039 / Smooth Out Slappy Hours and Kerplunk), they announced their arrival with 1994's Dookie, a dynamic blast of exuberant three-chord punk-pop that spoke to bored teenagers everywhere. The album eventually sold 15 million copies, earned the band its first Grammy Award, and inspired a raft of imitators. Over the years, Green Day continued to top the charts with their subsequent studio albums Insomniac, Nimrod, and Warning while entertaining millions of fans with their frenetic live shows. But it was their landmark 2004 album American Idiot that launched Green Day into the stratosphere. "Jesus of Suburbia" set the tone by telling a tale of the choice between self-destruction and redemption that resonated with listeners of all ages, nationalities, and political persuasions. American Idiot debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. It spawned five hit singles, earned seven Grammy nominations (winning two, including Rock Album of the Year), and raised the bar for modern rock and roll. This year, Green Day released its new album 21st Century Breakdown, which has been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, and embarked on a world tour. For more information on Green Day, visit greenday.com.
Michael Mayer (director) received a 2007 Tony Award, as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, for the Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening. His other Broadway credits include After the Fall; An Almost Holy Picture; The Lion in Winter; 'night, Mother; Side Man (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards); Thoroughly Modern Millie (Drama Desk Award and Tony nomination); Triumph of Love; Uncle Vanya; A View From the Bridge (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards and Tony nomination); and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Tony nomination). In addition to Spring Awakening at Atlantic Theater Company, his off-Broadway credits include 10 Million Miles, America Dreaming, Antigone in New York, Baby Anger, The Credeaux Canvas, Everyday Rapture, Hundreds of Hats, Missing Persons, Our House, Round About, Stupid Kids, True History and Real Adventures, and View of the Dome. He also directed the national tours for Spring Awakening, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Angels in America (Jefferson and Carbonell Awards). On London's West End, Mayer staged the current production of Spring Awakening, as well as Side Man and Thoroughly Modern Millie. His films include A Home at the End of the World and Flicka.
Steven Hoggett (choreographer) is co-founder and artistic director of Frantic Assembly, directing and choreographing all of its productions. His recent Frantic work includes Dirty Wonderland, Hymns, Othello, (pool) no water, and Stockholm. Hoggett served as assistant director and choreographer for Black Watch with the National Theatre of Scotland, earning the 2009 Olivier Award for Best Choreography. The show won many awards and enjoyed two world tours, including two runs at St. Ann's Warehouse in New York. He has worked on several other NTS productions as well, including 365, The Bacchae, and The Wolves in the Wall. His credits as a choreographer and movement director in his native Britain also include Bare Bones Dance Company, the National Theatre, Paines Plough Theatre Company, ROH2 (the Royal Opera House in Linbury), the Stephen Joseph Theatre, and the West Yorkshire Playhouse. In addition, he has provided choreography for Prada, Radio One, Selfridges, and the award-winning TV commercial "Harmonious Dance" for Orange Mobile.
Tom Kitt (music supervisor / arrangements / orchestrations) composed the new musical Next to Normal, which netted him two Tony Awards (Best Original Score with Brian Yorkey and Best Orchestrations with Michael Starobin) and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Score. As a composer, his other credits include the Broadway production of High Fidelity and the off-Broadway production of From Up Here at Manhattan Theatre Club. As a musical director, conductor, and arranger for Broadway and off-Broadway shows, his credits include 13, Debbie Does Dallas, Everyday Rapture, Hair, Laugh Whore, and Urban Cowboy. He is the proud leader of the Tom Kitt Band, and his original songs have been featured in film and TV.
Christine Jones (scenic design) earned a Tony nomination for Spring Awakening, and also designed the Broadway production of The Green Bird, directed by Julie Taymor. Her off-Broadway credits include The Book of Longing at Lincoln Center Festival, based on the poems of Leonard Cohen with music by Philip Glass; Burn This at Signature Theatre Company, starring Ed Norton and Dallas Roberts; Debbie Does Dallas at Jane Street Theatre; Much Ado About Nothing at The Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival; and Nocturne at New York Theatre Workshop. She has also created scenery for regional theatres across America and for operas, such as The Elephant Man at the Minnesota Opera, Giulio Cesare at Houston Grand Opera, and Lucia de Lammermoor at New York City Opera. She is the artistic director of Theatre for One, a space inspired by peep show booths and confessionals, which can be seen at theatreforone.com.
Kevin Adams (lighting design) designEd Berkeley Rep's production of Passing Strange, which moved to Broadway in 2008. He received a Tony Award in 2007 for his work on Spring Awakening, another Tony in 2008 for The 39 Steps, and two more Tony nominations in 2009 for Hair and Next to Normal. His other Broadway credits include An Almost Holy Picture featuring Kevin Bacon, Eve Ensler's The Good Body, John Leguizamo's Sexaholix, and Take Me Out. In 2002, he earned an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence, honoring his designs for off-Broadway shows such as Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs and the original production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. His work has also been seen at the Donmar Warehouse, the Kennedy Center, New York City Opera, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and in London's West End, Japan, and Korea.
Andrea Lauer (costume design) created costumes for The Butcher of Baraboo at Second Stage Theatre, Elephant Dreams at The Joyce Theatre, and Status Entropus, a multimedia dance performance presented in New York City and Thessaloniki, Greece. She also designed New York University's productions of Hair and Our Lady of 121st Street, as well as numerous shows for the Alley Theatre including After the Fall, And Then There Were None, Black Comedy, The Crucible, Fully Committed, Glengarry GLen Ross, Proof, Steel Magnolias, The Thirteenth Chair, The Woman in Black, Wait Until Dark, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Lauer's upcoming work includes Or with Women's Project and a new ballet for the Trey McIntyre Experience. She is a recipient of the Baryshnikov Fellowship and holds an MFA from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.
Brian Ronan (sound designer) has a long list of Broadway credits that includes 1776, All Shook Up, The Boys from Syracuse, Cabaret, Curtains, Fortune's Fool, Grease, Grey Gardens, Little Me, The Look of Love, Master Harold... and the Boys, Next to Normal, Pajama Game, The Rainmaker, Spring Awakening, State Fair, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Triumph of Love, Twelve Angry Men, and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Off Broadway, he designed Saved and Bug, for which he won Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards.
As the creative director and co-founder of Atmosphere 13, Darrel Maloney (video and projections designer) produced, designed, and developed motion graphics for broadcast, commercials, film, and special media. His work has been seen on HBO Undercover's Crank: Made in America, MTV's Summer Gig, and Martha Stewart's Christmas Special on CBS. Other clients include ABC Networks, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, ESPN, Food Network, Merrill Lynch, Showtime, and Universal Television. Maloney holds a BA and MFA from NYU, and he has designed sets and lights for numerous productions in New York, in Europe, and at regional theatres across the United States, including The Beggar's Opera off Broadway, Deliverance at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London, Four Scenes in a Harsh Life at Los Angeles Theatre Center, and Richard III at Hartford Stage.
Born in a storefront, Berkeley Rep has moved to the forefront of American theatre - and is still telling unforgettable stories. In four decades, four million people have enjoyed more than 300 shows at Berkeley Rep, including 51 world premieres. In the last four years alone, Berkeley Rep has helped send four shows to Broadway: Bridge & Tunnel, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Passing Strange, and Wishful Drinking. Founded in 1968, the Theatre quickly earned respect for presenting the finest plays with top-flight actors. In 1980, with the support of the local community, Berkeley Rep built the 400-seat Thrust Stage where its reputation steadily grew over the next two decades. It gained renown for an adventurous combination of work, presenting important new dramatic voices alongside refreshing adaptations of seldom-seen classics. In recognition of its place on the national stage, Berkeley Rep was honored with the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1997. The company celebrated by unveiling a 600-seat proscenium stage in 2001, the state-of-the-art Roda Theatre. It also opened the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, a permanent home for its long tradition of outreach and education programs. The addition of these two buildings transformed a single stage into a vital and versatile performing arts complex, the linchpin of a bustling downtown arts district which has helped revitalize Berkeley. The Theatre now welcomes an annual audience of 180,000, serves 20,000 students, and hosts dozens of community groups, thanks to 1,000 volunteers and more than 400 artists, artisans, and administrators.
For more information on American Idiot and the other shows in Berkeley Rep's 2009/10 Season, call (510) 647-2949 or toll-free at (888) 4-BRT-Tix - or visit berkeleyrep.org.