If you are a Green Day music fan or a punk rock fan in general, here is a show you will not want to miss. Coming to Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC), March 5 through 7, 2013 is the stage musical "American Idiot", an adaptation of punk rock band Green Day's concept album, titled the same.
The story, chock full of energy, raw emotion and the message that friends are everything, centers around three disaffected young men; Johnny, Will and Tunny, who plan to escape suburbia – and the limitations they feel their parents set on them - to find freedom, excitement, and themselves, in the big city.
Filled with Green Day music, contemporary & energetic choreography and some very talented singers and musicians, this is a production guaranteed to keep you wide awake during the entire ninety minute production (which has no intermission.)
Casey O'Farrell , who plays Will, took some time to speak about the production and his career:
Linda Brewer (LB): How did the son of a Nashville chiropractor end up playing Will in American Idiot?
Casey O’Farrell (Casey): You know I'm not really sure. My parents were into the arts and my mother was a singer and pianist so they encouraged me exploring my creative side, and then it just kind of worked out; moving to New York for school at AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy), getting cast in regional shows and continuing to get more work. I think it started when I found Jim Carrey. He was one of my favorite actors growing up! I like comedy and started doing impressions. That was when I was really young and then around high school I got placed into a theater course, started playing improv games and then that stuck. I haven't really done any acting in Nashville outside of high school school productions.
LB: I read a review of American Idiot that points you out as having a particularly fine singing voice. Have you studied voice? Do you want to keep your feet planted on both sides of the entertainment spectrum?
Casey: I did start studying voice in Nashville with that man named Tracy Printice for a year before I moved to New York and my school had voice teachers that we worked with through the two-year program at AMDA, then after college it's just been kind of a trial and error process. I absolutely want to keep my feet on both sides of the spectrum. I love acting and I love singing. I mostly enjoy working in the entertainment industry in whichever facet.
LB: If you wanted to star in a production that most represents the real you, what would it be?
Casey: I don't know if this necessarily represents me the most but I would love to play Lonnie in Rock of Ages. I think he captures the best part of my comedic side. I also really love the 80’s music. I think that would be my choice as a fun role.
LB: In American Idiot, your character chooses to not join his friends in exploring life in the big city, instead deciding to stay home with his pregnant girlfriend, sitting on the couch, drinking beer. How do you make the connection with this character?
Casey: I think Will represents a majority of the United States that doesn't go pursue their dream, who graduates college and gets married and settles down and then works on providing for that family, whether it's positive or negative. So I think just growing up in the US and having people in my family and friends and families that are living that life is the biggest asset for me playing Will. Will also requires, I think, the most emotional depth in this show, so being one of the older cast members and having the life experience to go with that help build the character.
LB: American Idiot is full of energy and raw emotion; what do you consider the most important lesson to learn from it?
Casey: I think the most important lesson of American Idiot is figuring out where your true family is, and that doesn't mean biological family. The main characters in this show discover that their home is with each other and not a physical place; it's the connection that they have in the life that they've spent together. At the end of the show, that is the most important thing to gain as an audience member.
LB: How often do you get back to hometown Nashville? What do you make sure to do while you are here? Will a lot of your family be making it to see you while you are playing TPAC?
Casey: Lately I've made it home about twice a year on average. While I'm home I usually try and hit up some of the my favorite bars downtown, hang out with my friends that are still around, and mostly spend time with my mother and brother. I have a lot of friends and family that are extremely excited to come to the show, and I've already heard that they're buying out rows and attending multiple nights, so it should be really exciting for me.
For information on the show and to purchase tickets, visit the TPAC website at www.tpac.org.