'Green Day's American Idiot' to open at University Theatre

University Theatre, Photo provided.
University Theatre, Photo provided.

When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21

Where: University Theatre

Tickets for the show are $18 for the general public and $15 for students, staff and seniors. 

Most people, including students on campus, have at least heard of Green Day, a band that formed in 1986. 

For students performing in Ball State’s rendition of “Green Day’s American Idiot,” Green Day has even been a part of their experiences.

“Like our band knew all the songs before they came in, picked up their instruments and just started playing them,” said director David Little. “The people coming into the audience are going to know the music, and then sort of have this curveball thrown at them of stage, lights, costumes, props, dancing and a really fantastic vocal arrangement that sound a little bit different from the original album.”

For some, knowing the songs added to their ability to relate to and portray their characters, but for others like actor David Hurt, who plays Johnny Test, it was more of a challenge. 

“It’s weird because you have to give the songs a story now as opposed to listening to them and rocking out,” Hurt said. “So you really have to look at the words for everything as opposed to just knowing them, which is a completely different experience. It’s weird to see them in the order that they are in and see them tell the story that they are telling.”

Green Day’s “American Idiot” first appeared as an album in 2004 and was adapted into a Broadway musical titled “Green Day’s American Idiot” in 2010. 

Little said the musical follows the journey of three young men who are frustrated with the government after they are “disillusioned with Iraq involvement after 9/11.”

“Just in terms of thematically, it’s interesting because the album was a response to George W. Bush and his response to 9/11,” Little said. “It’s set in that time period, yet at the same time, it’s becoming very relevant again. 

“There was a movement in England this summer before Donald Trump came to visit to make the song ‘American Idiot’ the number one song download on iTunes. I can’t remember if they were successful in making that happen. You know it was a campaign to do that. So you know the song and the album have become important and present again.”

The Ball State cast will bring the lyrics of “American Idiot” to life during their rendition of the Broadway show at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 on the University Theatre stage. 

For Hurt, the hardest part of the performance will be realistically portraying his character who struggles with drug addiction. 

“[The hardest part was] mostly trying to figure out what it feels like to be addicted with drugs because the only thing I have an addiction to is caffeine,” Hurt said. “I have found things that I really need in everyday life and tried to relate them. It’s still kind of difficult for me, and we’re at the end of the process.” 

From an audience perspective, Hurt said to expect “lots of middle fingers, curse words and rock ‘n’ roll.”

Contact Pauleina Brunnemer with comments at pdbrunnemer@bsu.edu or on Twitter @pauleina15

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