BWW Interview: Norby David Gets in The Groove in AMERICAN IDIOT

Manila, Philippines--Norby David, the former bassist and vocalist of alternative rock band Rivermaya, has joined the cast of the Manila premiere of the rock opera AMERICAN IDIOT by Green Day, which played to full houses and received standing ovations on its opening weekend (June 24-26) at the Globe Iconic Store's amphitheater on Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City.

Life After Rivermaya

After five years performing with Rivermaya, Norby officially left the band last March; three months later, he finds himself venturing into another world of live performance--musical theater.

"When I decided to leave my former band, I still, of course, wanted to continue music because it's my passion," he told

Though acting isn't a totally new territory for him, he really aimed at improving his craft. So when he heard about the auditions for AMERICAN IDIOT, he challenged himself and didn't think twice.

"I took an acting class before at ABS-CBN and theater workshops at New Voice Company. I did all that to improve my stage performance," he said.

He's also glad to bump into his fellow real-life rockers in AMERICAN IDIOT. In the course of the production, there was no feeling of competition; he actually felt a little more comfortable in the company of his co-actors Jason Fernandez, who also performed for Rivermaya, Miggy Chavez of Chicosi, and Basti Artadi of Wolfgang. "We treat ourselves like real brothers. It's a welcome 'change'."


Prior to clinching the role of Theo in AMERICAN IDIOT, Norby was initially hoping to join the ensemble because he's not a dancer.

But everything can be learned.

"Sa awa ng Diyos, I'm still able to comprehend 'yung mga pinapagawa. I'm slowly getting into the groove of things. For the show, he was compelled to sport a new hairstyle and color. "The whole thing--I'm getting used to it. I'm learning to like it. S'yempre walking around in the mall, maraming titingin sa'yo. It's a nice change.

"Andami kong natutunan. First of all, natuto akong sumayaw. Tsaka iba ang disiplina nila [referring to theater artists]. I thought disiplinado na ko like 'no drinking' during the production, mga ganun. Akala ko yun na yun. This is totally a different experience for me. So far I'm doing OK. Maraming kaibigan na nagtatampo dahil di na ko gumigimik masyado. I want to give my best to this."

Each time Norby visits his voice coach Jojo Acosta at Singers Studio in Katipunan, Quezon City, it would take him two hours to travel from Paranaque City, where he lives.

"It feels great to be Theo. In a way, it's very validating. My sacrifices are paying off."

Contrary to his real-life personality, his character, Theo, is a musical activist. He is the rebel type, The Devil's advocate. "Siya 'yung promotor ng kalokohan. He starts the riot."

After AMERICAN IDIOT, which ends its limited engagement on Sunday, July 10, Norby is looking forward to doing more musicals and work with other theater artists.

AMERICAN IDIOT tells the story of three boyhood friends: Johnny (Jason Fernandez), Will (Miggy Chavez), and Tunny (Nel Gomez). Each is searching for meaning in a post 9/11 world. Winner of two Tony Awards, Best Scenic Design of a Musical for Christine Jones and Best Lighting Design of a Musical for Kevin Adams, and winner of the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, AMERICAN IDIOT opened on Broadway in 2010 and in the West End in 2015. Besides the hit songs from Green Day's album AMERICAN IDIOT such as "American Idiot," "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "Holiday," "Wake Me Up When September Ends," and "Jesus of Suburbia," the musical also includes several songs from Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown" album and an unreleased ballad "When It's Time."

AMERICAN IDIOT was written by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, with music by Green Day and lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong.

For tickets (starting at P2,090), visit or

Photos: 9 Works Theatrical, Erickson Dela Cruz, Kathy Rivera

Related Articles View More Philippines Stories   Shows

From This Author Jude Cartalaba