Melissa Etheridge will put a gender-bending spin on the lead role in the Broadway hit “American Idiot” when she joins the show for a one-week engagement beginning February 1. The singer will take the place of Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, who currently is tackling the part of St. Jimmy.
“Billie Joe and I always believed that it would be incredible to have a woman take on the role of St. Jimmy. This character is seductive, thrilling and dangerous. Melissa Etheridge is all that and so much more,” the show’s Tony Award-winning director, Michael Mayer, said about the casting decision to BroadwayWorld.com. “She’s a rock icon and we couldn’t be more thrilled that she’s bringing her immense talent to ‘American Idiot.’ ”
The Green Day singer just kicked off a 50-performance run of dates in the show earlier this month. Right now the schedule for upcoming “American Idiot” performances is as follows: Armstrong for the remainder of January, Etheridge for February 1-6 and Armstrong again for February 10-27. The actor who originated the part on Broadway, Tony Vincent, ended his run as St. Jimmy on December 30. Armstrong previously appeared in eight performances of the stage show in September 2010. During that stretch, ticket sales grew to more than $1 million; last week’s grosses for “American Idiot” were around $600,000.
The musical is based on Green Day’s smash 2004 album of the same name. When “American Idiot” opened in April 2010, Armstrong talked with MTV News about the show and the recording. “I think, politically, American Idiot, when we were writing it, it was trying to make sense out of a big mess,” he explained. “You’re trying to find something to believe in, but it’s difficult when you’re getting bombarded with useless information. So it’s just [about] trying to find your identity and your individualism in the midst of all that.”
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