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American Idiot

February 2020
Morse Crescent Underground Theatre

Director's Note

“The rage and love, the story of my life.”

     This production of American Idiot is unlike any version of the show you may have encountered previously. In order to take a more human, solemn approach to an unexpectedly dense text, we began this process by focusing on the lyrics to these iconic songs, and what they’re really saying beyond the teen angst that we all so deeply associate them with. By centering on the contrasting themes of rage and love at the core of the original concept album, as well as reimagining many of the characters’ circumstances, we have sought to build a world that is a metaphorical representation of the psychological effects of the larger American social and political climate on the young people of this “alien nation.” In short, our version of American Idiot is about coping with the established American national conscience.

     The “three main lads,” as we have affectionately come to call them in rehearsal, symbolize different embodied reactions to this conscience: Will, the warm-hearted goofball, is struggling through anxiety and depression, and his mental health inhibits him from being there for those he cares about or taking action to improve his circumstance; Tunny, in our version a transgender male coping with his identity, takes drastic action to feel as if he matters and has control over his life, regardless of the consequences this may have for his own personal safety; and, most centrally, Johnny, the self-proclaimed “Jesus of Suburbia,” whose inner demons are directly reminiscent of the American national conscience. These demons are personified in the rageful St. Jimmy, whose existence inside Johnny’s brain pushes him further into the masculine binary, fueling his internalized homophobia, and driving him into a painful drug addiction.

     Beyond these men, the women of our interpretation too represent different reactions to America, specifically in their responses to the shortcomings of their male counterparts. As a female director, it was important to me that the women in this show had fully-fledged characters, contrary to their original portrayals. Heather, originally Will’s nagging, obnoxious girlfriend, is struggling with her own mental health as her personal circumstance with Will leaves the two of them needing each other in ways that the other cannot provide; the Extraordinary Girl, originally written as Tunny’s sexual fantasy, is now an active combat soldier coping with her own significance in an unfair world; and, chiefly, our Whatsername, originally a drugged-out rocker chick, is a powerful and passionate student activist who tries to help Johnny through his addiction – she is the personification of love, and cannot see that it is not her job to fix everything and everyone.

     Rage and love are two sides of the same coin, and one becomes the other before you even realize a change has occurred; if you examine it closely, you will see that Whatsername and St. Jimmy really aren’t that different, and you will watch as each becomes embodied by the emotions the other represents.

     Admittedly, despite our best efforts to make a conglomeration of character studies form a coherent story, you may still be confused by this show’s plot (or arguable lack thereof), and that is ok. Honestly, that is the point.

Production Photos

Photos by Lauren Song
Show Clips and/or Full Production Footage Available Upon Request

Production Team

Director: Madison Cole
Producer: Kira Daniels
Musical Director: Sarah Sotomayor 

Stage Manager: Skye Ward 

Choreographer: Santana Vannarath 

Lighting Designer: Eitan Acks
Sound Designers: Ash Gold, Annie Polish
Sound Engineer: Miriam Huerta 

Costume Designer: Jenan Cameranesi 

Projections Designer: Kari Hustad 

Dramaturg: Eliza MacGilvray

Associate Stage Manager: Bairon Reyes Luna 

Assistant Producer: John Paciga 

Assistant Musical Director: Peter Sykes 

Assistant Stage Manager: Sophia Dopico 

Assistant Lighting Designer: Miriam Ross 

Makeup Artists: Kara O’Rourke, Allie Olson
Hair Artist: Mila Colizza

Cast and Band

Johnny: Charlie Foster

Will: Jordi Bertrán Ramírez

Tunny: Syd Bakal

Whatsername: Paige Hann

St. Jimmy: Sean Rogers

Heather: Kyra Gee

Extraordinary Girl: Catherine Alam-Nist

Theo/Joshua: Bradley Nowacek

Alysha: Claire Sattler

Ensemble: Avery Brown, Eamon Goucher, Ben Kramer, Brittany Menjivar, Bradley Nowacek, Claire Sattler, Alice Tao

Guitar 1: Allie Olson

Guitar 2: Maya Vaknin

Detuned Guitar: Sarah Sotomayor

Keys: Isabella Zou

Bass: Rachel Calcott

Violin: Rachel Chang

Cello: Anastasia Dalianis

Percussion: Alexandria Wynn

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