American Idiot Director Michael Mayer Goes from Green Day Super Fan to Rock Opera Collaborator
Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer helms the national tour of Green Day’s American Idiot, which opens at the Boston Opera House January 24 and runs through January 29. But before he partnered with band members Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt to adapt their Grammy-winning album for Broadway and beyond, Mayer was simply a die-hard Green Day fan.
“I listened to American Idiot over and over because I loved it so much,” Mayer told the Boston Globe. “I started imagining what it would be like [on stage]. I started kicking around in my head ideas about how to open it up and make it a story of more people. It was the success of Spring Awakening that gave me the courage to pursue it,” Mayer said of the award-winning musical, for which he won a Tony in 2007 for his direction.
Armstrong gave Mayer the green light to expand the story of American Idiot into a Broadway musical, even adding songs from their follow-up album 21st Century Breakdown into the mix. Then Mayer did what any Green Day mega fan would do—incorporate the band’s most iconic song, “Good Riddance,” at the show’s conclusion. “I just thought, ‘How fun would it be to take Green Day’s big classic goodbye song and have everyone play guitar,’” Mayer said. “When the curtain comes up again, suddenly you’ve got 17 guitarists onstage. They play that song, and it’s a nice way to end.” Sounds like a Green Day dream.
American Idiot stars Van Hughes as Johnny, Jake Epstein as Will, Scott J. Campbell as Tunny, Joshua Kobak as St. Jimmy, Gabrielle McClinton as Whatsername and Nicci Claspell as the Extraordinary Girl.