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American Stage Presents Green Day's AMERICAN IDIOT, September 9

American Stage's punk rock opera visits the suburban frustration of a young band of longing artists. Meet the actors and director who bring the angst to life.

American Stage Presents Green Day's AMERICAN IDIOT, September 9

American Stage is kicking off its 2022 -23 season, "This is America" with a homage to the punk rock movement of the 1990s and early 2000s - opening night is Sept. 9. Green Day's American Idiot is a 22-song musical featuring songs from Green Day's hit album of the same name.

The show, like all the shows this season, is based around a story of American history. However, Green Day's American Idiot features a piece of history a little closer to this decade, the punk movements of the late '90s and 2000s.

In fact, director Gavin Hawk was once a young kid in the punk rock scene.

"I think teenage me would be thrilled that his two passions - theatre and punk rock - had been merged together, and in a way that doesn't feel reductive of the power of the music. Teenage me would also wonder why current me didn't have more tattoos. said Hawk. "We're really going for the feeling of the ultimate concert experience, the light and sound and spectacle of it all."

American Idiot's main storyline follows a three-man act with Nathan David Smith as Will,

Zummy Mohammed as Tunny, and Johnny Shea as his namesake, Johnny.

John Alejandro Jeffords is St. Jimmy, Johnny's drug-dealing and conflicted alter-ego.

The characters (and their counterparts) are filled with a sort of longing. The musical showcases them running out of beer, complaining about faceless stepdad "Brad," and wanting more but barreling in directionless fog.

"I went to see Green Day's American Idiot on Broadway ... It was unlike anything I've seen on Broadway before," Johnny said. " It felt like a concert paired with a cathartic story. I loved the rebellious feeling I got watching something so in-your-face and dangerous. It felt true. I was obsessed with John Gallagher Jr. who played Johnny."

Hawk sees the upcoming production as a direct reflection of the show's inspiration: Green Day.

"For the three main characters, I imagine them as the members of Green Day," Hawk said. "Obviously, Johnny is Billie Joe, the wandering rock star tempted by his dark side. I think Tunny, the one who goes to war, is representative of Mike, who strikes me as a serious and idealistic fighter, and Will, the one who stays home and has a kid, reminds me of Tre's forever teenager vibe. The actors we cast in those roles (and the rest of the cast) can portray all those characteristics and more."

Nathan David Smith (Will) is starring as American Idiot's lead. Will's main dilemma is the news of his girlfriend, Heather's impromptu pregnancy, played by Mia Massero.

"I'm so excited to play Heather, I feel like I relate to her in the way that she is at a crossroads in her life and ultimately chooses to make the hardest decision," Massero said. "There's something really empowering about that."

Like Massero, it's Smith's first time performing in an American Stage production, and the New York City resident and actor says he has a nostalgic connection with his latest role.

"I feel like there are a lot of ways that I used to relate to Will, but don't anymore. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest. I remember feeling like I was going to be stuck and that I wasn't going to live the life that I wanted, similar to Will's situation," Nathan said. "I struggled with substance abuse and depression, but I didn't let any of that stop me from working towards a better life ... I know a lot of people who are Will's and there's honestly a time where that could've been me."

Green Day's American Idiot will not be Zummy's first American Stage appearance. Footloose' fans may remember him from his role as Lyle and the production's Dance Captain.

What does Zummy hope the audience will enjoy most about the upcoming show?

"The freedom that the music brings. There is such a freedom and release in the music," he said.

Opening night for American Idiot is September 9 and the show runs through October 2. Come early Sept 7-8 for $20 or "Pay What You Can" tickets, as long as they're available.

Plus, here's a collection of events that will help audiences get closer to the music.

American Stage Theatre has operated as a non-profit 501(C)(3) in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida, providing live theatrical productions as a professional regional equity theatre since 1977. As Tampa Bay's longest-running, most critically acclaimed professional theatre company, its vision is to be a vital arts leader, connecting its community to world-class productions that celebrate the most powerful stories of the moment and the most defining stories from our past.

American Stage's year-round accessible programming brings the power of quality live theatre to each generation. American Stage believes that through the telling of dynamic stories, the theatre has the power to unite us in our shared experiences and to deepen our connection to one another through the illumination of diverse perspectives.

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