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AMERICAN IDIOT Opens Tonight at The Fox; Interview With Jared Nepute

The company of AMERICAN IDIOT
The company of AMERICAN IDIOT
Jeremy Daniel

Green Day's AMERICAN IDIOT the Musical opens TONIGHT, May 1, at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, and is here only for a limited engagement. American Idiot will run from May 1st-4th and in Atlanta as a part of Fifth Third Bank's Broadway in Atlanta series. Tickets are available, here.

Jared Nepute (Johnny) in AMERICAN IDIOT
Jeremy Daniel

A critical smash on Broadway and in London, the two-time Tony Award® winning hit 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 the most exhilarating theatrical journey of the season.

Based on Green Day's GRAMMY® Award-winning multi-platinum album, AMERICAN IDIOT boldly takes the American musical where it's never gone before. The result is an experience Charles Isherwood of The New York Times declares "thrilling, emotionally charged, and as moving as any Broadway musical I've seen this year!"

Featuring the hits "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "21 Guns," "Wake Me Up When September Ends," "Holiday" and the blockbuster title track, AMERICAN IDIOT features the music of Green Day and the lyrics of its lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong, direction by Tony Award® winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening), choreography by Olivier Award winner Steven Hoggett (Black Watch), music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Kitt (Next to Normal), Tony Award® winning set design by Christine Jones and Tony Award® winning lighting design by Kevin Adams.

Recently, I had the opportunity sit down and chat with one of American Idiot's leading players, Jared Nepute. Check out what he has to say about American Idiot:

CC: What got you started in performing, and, growing up, did you know that you wanted to pursue theatre?
JN: Actually, the first time I broke onto the performing arts scene was from playing piano when I was a kid. I started taking lessons when I was 5, and eventually started doing competitions and talent shows. I didn't really start singing publicly until middle school when I joined choir and auditioned for the school musical. It wasn't until I was a junior in high school and I landed a big part in "Singin' in the Rain" that I really decided to pursue a career in musical theatre.

CC: That is interesting! So, you currently portray the role of Johnny in the National Tour of American Idiot The Musical, what is touring with a Broadway National Tour like?
JN: It's crazy. I feel so fortunate to have landed this gig and be able to tour the country doing what I love. It's a lot of travel either by bus or airplane (which can get exhausting), but the feeling of being on stage every night to share this incredible play with such a diverse audience is one of the most gratifying things I've ever done in my life.

CC: I could imagine it gets very tiresome, but I am sure that it is worth it being able to see all of the cities. So tell me, is American Idiot different than any other production that you have ever worked on? If so, how?
JN: Absolutely. "American Idiot" is a unique blend of a play, a rock opera, and a concert. It's fast-paced, in-your-face theatre that runs 95 minutes without an intermission, featuring some of the most aggressive and physical choreography I've ever seen. The goal is to overstimulate the audience with lights, sound, and TV displays to drive home the point that, in a society consumed with instant gratification, we are becoming numb and disinterested to discovering truth for ourselves whether it be politically or personally.

CC: What is your favorite musical number in American Idiot?
JN: Personally, I love the number, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." After an intense half hour of running around the stage doing all kinds of acrobatics while singing, it's my first moment to have a moment of stillness to connect with the audience. And from a character standpoint, it's the first time that Johnny discovers his voice and actually feels like he's found his home.

CC: "Boulveard of Broken Dreams" is also one of my personal favorites from the show, as well. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about touring? What do you and the other cast members do for fun while on the road?
JN: One of my favorite things is obviously visiting all of these different cities that I've never been to before but, more specifically, getting to see all of the different theatres around the country. Some of these theatres like the Boston Opera house and The Majestic in San Antonio (to name a few) are gorgeous, and it's very cool to see how each one has its own unique personality. One of the hardest parts about touring has to be learning how to sleep on a coach bus. It's especially difficult if we've been riding on a bus for 8+ hours and then have a show that night. However, the cast has its fair share of things to keep us happy on tour like swimming, throwing a football around, going out to the movies, buying nerf guns....

CC: When I do shows, or events, abroad that is my favorite thing - seeing the different theatres. Anyway, what sort of pre-show rituals, if any, do you do to prepare for a performance?
JN: Coffee. Always a cup of coffee at some point before the show. Then, I usually do 12 minutes of steam time (stick my face in a steamer and inhale to get my voice nice and hydrated), a vocal warmup, recite some of my lines from the show to tap into my character, and then do a physical warmup. It's usually an hour long process.

CC: Following the tour, what are your plans? Where would you like to see yourself 5 years from now?
JN: I'm kicking my subletter out and moving back into my apartment in New York City. I don't have any big shows lined up right now, but I've talked with my agent about auditioning for NYC-based theatre because I would like to spend some time in the city after all these months on the road. Obviously, Broadway is my biggest goal, but I have a lot of different interests like songwriting, directing, and teaching, so I really don't know what's going to happen down the road.

CC: Do you mind telling me, and the readers, about your character as Johnny?
JN:
Johnny is a rebel, the anti-hero bad boy who's frustrated with the post 9/11 suburban lifestyle and all the falsehoods that come along with it. He can be the most sardonic, sarcastic narcissist and then, at the same time, just a young kid with a huge heart trying to find his place. He has so many colors to play with, and, as an actor, what more could you ask for?

CC: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions, I am extremely excited to see you and the cast of American Idiot at The Fox while you’re in Atlanta. One last question, What would you like to tell potential American Idiot audience members about the show?
Make sure you get there early. If you get there 5 minutes late, you already lost half of the plot. Also, there's no intermission so make sure you visit the facilities before the show starts. Finally, come ready to have an awesome !#@$-ing time!! It's one of the most fun and coolest shows out there.

Don't miss Jared Nepute and the company of AMERICAN IDIOT at The Fox Theatre in beautiful downtown Atlanta, Georgia May 1-4th!