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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Berkeley Rep Continues Broadway-Bound Streak with American Idiot

Posted By on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 12:45 PM

click to enlarge Johnny (John Gallagher Jr.) and St. Jimmy (Tony Vincent) in American Idiot. - IMAGE COURTESY OF: COURTESY OF MELLOPIX.COM
  • Image Courtesy of: Courtesy of mellopix.com
  • Johnny (John Gallagher Jr.) and St. Jimmy (Tony Vincent) in American Idiot.

I wasn't crazy about Berkeley Rep's latest offering, but there's no denying that the company is a leading developer of nationally significant plays. Sarah Jones's Bridge & Tunnel made its way from the Rep to Broadway in 2006, followed by Stew's Passing Strange in 2008, then Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking and Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) in 2009.

Now we can add American Idiot to the list. The world premiere of Green Day's rock opera received very little love around here, but it proved successful enough in its time at Berkeley Rep to prompt a run on the Great White Way. Previews begin tonight at the St. James Theatre, with an official opening on April 20.

We haven't heard the end of it, either: new rumors hint that Tom Hanks may be optioning the musical for a feature film. None of this should be too surprising when you consider that Green Day's 2004 album sold over 14 million copies worldwide -- but even so, Berkeley Rep deserves huge praise for helping maintain the presence of Bay Area theater on the national stage.

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Chris Jensen

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