Tonight, at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards, American Idiot – the raucous show that was born at Berkeley Repertory Theatre before bursting onto Broadway – won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. Produced by Billie Joe Armstrong, the recording features Green Day and the original Broadway cast, who performed together on national television during last year’s Grammy ceremony. Reprise Records released the album on April 20, 2010, the same day the show began its Broadway run. The musical features music from Green Day’s most recent albums, American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, both of which won Grammy Awards as well.
In the last nine years, Berkeley Rep has helped develop seven Broadway shows: American Idiot (2010), Bridge & Tunnel (2006), Ghetto Klown (2011), In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (2009), Metamorphoses (2002), Passing Strange (2008), and Wishful Drinking (2009), which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Audio Book last year. Berkeley Rep also celebrated its second London transfer last fall: following in the footsteps of Continental Divide, which played at the Barbican in 2004, Tiny Kushner transferred to London’s Tricycle Theater in September.
The smash-hit, Tony Award-winning musical American Idiot tells the story of three lifelong friends, forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia. Their quest for true meaning in a post 9-11 world leads them on an exhilarating journey. The result, according to the Toronto Star, is “the first great musical of the 21st century!”
The Broadway engagement of American Idiot is produced by Tom Hulce and Ira Pittelman in association with Berkeley Rep. The show made its world premiere in Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre in September 2009. Its record-breaking run brought in the biggest advance sale in the Theatre’s 42-year history, the biggest day at the box office, 18 of the top 20 days ever, and due to demand had to announce its first extension before it played its first performance. Now it’s rocking the St. James Theatre in Manhattan, which is located at 246 West 44th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue.
Green Day – vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt, and drummer Tré Cool – created one of the best-selling albums of all time with the groundbreaking rock opera American Idiot. Then the band collaborated with one of theatre’s most acclaimed creative teams – Tony Award-winning director of Spring Awakening Michael Mayer, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and orchestrator Tom Kitt, and Olivier Award-winning choreographer Steven Hoggett – to bring this explosive, iconic story to the stage.
The show features Tony Award-winning scenic design by Christine Jones (Spring Awakening), costume design by Baryshnikov fellow Andrea Lauer (The Butcher of Baraboo), Tony Award-winning lighting design by Kevin Adams (Hair), sound design by Olivier and Obie Award-winner Brian Ronan (Cabaret), and video design by Darrel Maloney. The music director is Carmel Dean and Lorin Latarro is the associate choreographer.
Berkeley Repertory Theatre has grown from a storefront stage to a national leader in innovative theatre. Known for its core values of imagination and excellence, as well as its educated and adventurous audience, the nonprofit has provided a welcoming home for emerging and established artists since 1968. The Theatre welcomes an annual audience of 180,000, serves 20,000 students, and hosts dozens of community groups, thanks to 1,000 volunteers and more than 400 artists, artisans, and administrators.
Photo credit: kevinberne.com, mellopix.com, Carole Litwin.