Folks...it has been a long time. TOO long...but at last we're at the point where we are moving forward and getting rolling with our offering for Summer 2018. I am so excited to be working on American Idiot, the punk/pop/opera based on the eponymous album by Green Day. It is a show that blew me away when I saw it and I haven't been able to shake since.
It would be easy to say that this show speaks to me. Easy and reductive. The songs that end up making up this show were deeply embedded in my life before they became musical theatre.
I have sung the song "Last Night on Earth" nearly every night for the last 6 years. It has been, for virtually his entire life, my son's favorite song and as soon as he was able to ask for things, he asked for it...Of course he used to call it "ev-wee-thing in fire"... For the past year or so it has been number 2. Now he asks for "Wake Me Up When September Ends" as his nightly lullabye, and I'm proud...and a little worried that I'm not as good a parent as I should be...there are potty words in some of these songs...
"Before the Lobotomy" sounds like my head felt driving around in a 1997 forest green Toyota Camry on foggy nights knowing I'd blown my curfew and was going to get in trouble again but feeling like I couldn't go home, at least not yet.
"Holiday" feels dangerous and exciting, "Jesus of Suburbia" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" fuel the teenager pounding on the inside of this old man's body, fighting the decrepitude and terrified of the gray hair...there might be hope, or is that misplaced nihilism for a guy who wants to sing "I walk alone" but who goes to sleep in a bed with a beautiful wife and, every night about midnight, the most amazing 5 year old daughter on the planet?
I know I'm past the blue hair, even though it was my Bubby's tsuris*...but she died this year, so I feel compelled to make something bigger and noisier than I ever have to let her know that even if my hair isn't blue...my hair is still blue...because I know she loved it.
Suffice to say, this music is holding on to my heart like a hand grenade. But for this old man, the thing that speaks to me most about this play is the idea of a homecoming. And that is why we're doing it. We are bringing our company home...back to New Jersey, back to Trenton.
Because I would be lying if I were to say that as a boy "I started fucking running as soon as my feet touched ground", but dammit if sometimes I didn't feel like I wanted to. And now that I am a man, I know that after we fight off our demons and leave behind the things that would destroy us, and after we push through the doubt and jealousy and stifling boredom that we might be faced with, and after we bruise and batter the things that might save us, if we are honest, and if we are lucky, and if we haven't screwed it all up too badly, we are the ones coming home. And that is amazing. And I'm super excited to make this piece and tell that story.
*That's Yiddish for "trouble, woe, or aggravation"...and my grandmother, Estelle Bogad, wrote in her notes about Passover 1998 that "somebody's blue hair is my tsuris"