Last week saw the debut of "American Idiot," the musical based on characters from Green Day's multi-platinum 2004 rock opera of the same name. The show, which contains all the songs from American Idiot, as well as a handful of tunes from the band's most recent album, 21st Century Breakdown, is directed by Michael Mayer, the mind behind the Tony-winning rock hit "Spring Awakening."
Though the band obviously came from a punk background, the inspiration for "American Idiot" is a little more classic. "Outside of the Who, no one has really gone in that direction before," Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong told MTV News while hanging out backstage at rehearsals for the MTV Video Music Awards. "Just to even say that we're doing the same thing that the Who was doing, it's just uncharted territory."
He's also been blown away by the way the show has come together, and by the talent of the people working on it. "Michael Mayer is great; the cast is great," Armstrong said. "They're really passionate as artists. They put everything they possibly can into it. They're not trying to make it big and Hollywood. They're artists, and that's the most inspiring thing."
The play, staged at the Berkeley Repertory Theater (just a stone's throw away from 924 Gilman Street, the club where the band got its start 20 years ago), will run through November 1, and they hope they can keep it alive and bring it to Broadway. But even if this is as far as it goes, the band is "beyond satisfied" with the results. "We didn't know what to expect," Armstrong said. "The way that the vocal arrangements are coming out, the band sounds good. It's kind of like going to your own funeral. It's great!"