that girl allison

I'm Allison. I see a ton of theatre. I'm a fan of Green Day, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Weezer, Oasis, Adam Rapp, Emily Giffin, and Shakespeare. I run sometimes, and do yoga always.

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thatgirlallison08 at gmail dot com

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Posts tagged "american idiot"

Honestly, the last thing on my mind was, Oh shit, St. Jimmy is being played by a woman!  It didn’t matter.  And another “honestly” moment, I was really excited to see what Melissa Etheridge could to do as St. Jimmy.  I wasn’t (and am still not) familiar with her work as a musician but I’d been told she has a better voice than both Billie Joe Armstrong and Tony Vincent, and she looked awesome [as fuck] in her costume, so I was optimistic.  

The house was packed and the audience was enthusiastic.  There was a lot of energy as Van Hughes was going through his pre-St. Jimmy monologue, and some clapping with the beat (which I hate because although it amps up the cast, it messes up the musicians).  Etheridge has an awesome entrance but she was completely off the beat during the first few measures.  It really threw the song off, but she recovered finished the song.  She sounded amazing during Last Night on Earth, and especially nailed it in Know Your Enemy.  

Her character choices were pretty standard and the norm except the one part that stuck out to me was the moment she had with Johnny before When It’s Time.  She gave him the heroin and then watched him throw it to the side and sing to Whatshername.  Watching how a woman chose to react to this moment was entirely different than watching how Tony Vincent or Billie Joe Armstrong reacted to this moment.  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, right?  This was the one instance where the gender made a difference.  Etheridge sang Know Your Enemy because she was being rejected rather than only the addiction of heroin being rejected.  

While Etheridge has a powerful and amazing voice, I think the main problem with Etheridge was her energy level.  She’s a country rock singer and performer, not a punk rock singer and performer and that just makes a huge difference in the pacing of the show.  As a result, the show felt a bit slower tonight.  You also barely noticed her exiting the stage during Letterbomb which although it was different, it was also fine.  I think the audience is supposed to be focused on Whatshername and her punkette troupe rather than St. Jimmy’s exits.  Billie Joe Armstrong can’t help it if eyes follow him where ever he goes on stage.  I also liked hearing the songs transposed into new keys, and they sounded great. 

A side note about Van Hughes: I saw him as Johnny during the summer and he’s definitely gotten more comfortable, physically, in the role since then.  His voice is great (less nasal than John Gallagher Jr.), and his guitar playing is crisp and clean.  Half of his monologues were well executed and believable, while the other half were extremely unbelievable and poorly delivered.  Jason Kappus, the new male swing, is also very fun to watch.  All I could think, though, was, Damn, you have nice arms but they need a few tattoos.  The rest of the cast was in full working order.  

I think this was an extremely creative bit of stunt casting, not to mention extremely brave.  While things certainly could have been worse, they definitely could’ve been better too.  If you venture to see Etheridge this week, keep an open mind to the fact that you’re not seeing Billie Joe Armstrong in the role and I think you’ll be more likely to enjoy her performance.  February 1st, 2011

Watch Good Riddance from tonight’s performance here.

{Good Riddance} - American Idiot - Melissa Etheridge’s 1st Performance, February 1st, 2011

I forgot about the light booth at the opening night party for American Idiot until I was going through business cards this morning and found the photographer’s business card.  As evident by the above photo (of Heather and me), I can’t pose for ‘funny’ photos.  Next time I’m going for a standard Charlie’s Angel’s-pose or just a simple middle finger.  

Tonight St. Billie went mad.  It was the 300th performance of American Idiot which I had no plans to go to until Tanya asked if I wanted her other first row ticket for the performance.  Why yes, I would!  Before the curtain went up, you could hear the many “owwww!“‘s and “ayyyyyhooooo!“‘s coming from behind the curtain, which those of us who were paying attention repeated back to them.  

After [the song] St. Jimmy ended, Billie Joe [Armstrong] hopped off the stage and into the house right aisle (where Tanya and I were sitting).  Everyone (including, I believe, the cast) was completely stunned and didn’t know what was going to happen next.  BJA walked up the aisle and out the doors.  He reappeared ten seconds later with a fresh bottle of Jack Daniels and made his way back down the aisle, stepping on Tayna’s seat to help hoist himself back onto the stage.  He unwrapped the bottle and took a short chug.  

Then the show continued as usual.  

Before BJA started playing Good Riddance after the curtain call, he took a moment to thank the cast, crew, producers, and everyone else that had made it possible for American Idiot to make it to it’s 300th performance.  BJA played back-to-back with Michael Esper and eventually pushed Esper onto the floor, from which he refused to get back up.  A lot of fans brought flowers for the cast, which was sweet, and John Gallagher Jr. shook both my and Tanya’s hands afterward, which was kinda fun.

Billie Joe Armstrong brings a certain element of mystery to the show [as in, ‘what is he going to do tonight?’], as well as an irreplaceable injection of energy that the show was badly in need of prior to a week and a half ago.  Do yourself a favor and give his performance a try.  

I had a somewhat different experience watching American Idiot this past Sunday night (January 2nd), and although seeing Billie Joe Armstrong perform in any capacity is a religious experience, that wasn’t entirely responsible for the difference. 

My view was definitely different seeing as I was six seats off the aisle on the left side in what is basically the first row of the orchestra.  My inner-guitar geek loved the seat (A11) because I could very easily see Michael Esper’s chord progressions whenever he was playing, and I also had a perfect view of the lead guitarist’s (Michael Aarons) hands (and sometimes his entire person) which I watched a lot too.  And I don’t know how I luck out with these seats, but despite the TV and couch being in my way of seeing a lot of the scenes on the bed, the sliver of space between the two objects allowed me to see Bille Joe Armstrong during When It’s Time and 21 Guns.  And yes, it’s really hard to pay attention to anything else when BJA is onstage.

It may have been who I saw the show with, too, that made it different (and awesome).  I saw the show for the first time sitting next to my friend Tanya (she writes the amazingly well-informed blog Green Day Mind) who has no shame when it comes to rocking out during the show, which most likely stems for her genuine love of actual punk and punk-rock music.  Her loss of inhibition allowed me to also shed any ounce of embarrassment I may have felt while energetically tapping my foot to beat and generally rocking out, especially during the songs leading up to Boulevard of Broken Dreams.  I also didn’t need to feel embarrassed at my inability to not mouth the words 95% of the time (for clarification’s sake: I don’t sing along).  It was also nice to not be the only person in a sea of Broadway patrons who screams back “Amen!” during Holiday.   

Or it could be (even though I denied this at first) because Billie Joe Armstrong had taken the stage, as well as everyone’s attention, and was simply refusing to give it back until the curtain came down (he did have trouble leaving the stage that night as well - he kept peaking his head out for more applause). 

Any way you’d like to slice it, Sunday felt different and in an awesome way.   

Photo taken by me on April 20th, 2010 at the St. James Theatre.

{Good Riddance} w/ Billie Joe Armstrong - American Idiot - January 2nd, 2011, 7:30pm

When it was announced in August 2009 that Tony Vincent would play St. Jimmy in the Berkeley Rep run of American Idiot, I knew he’d be perfect.  The first time I saw him take the stage in Berkeley he was exactly as I’d imagined the character and he was perfect.  It was like his portrayal of Judas (in Jesus Christ Superstar) except more intense and edgier.  In the Broadway transfer, I only cared whether or not he was also being transfered, and he was.  I was determined to see him one last time in American Idiot before he left, and although it didn’t need to be at his last show, it was and I’m glad I was there.

The house was packed and the show was completely sold out (thank you, tourist season), as was the lottery beforehand, but I scored a ticket a few minutes before the show started (J101).  I hadn’t seen [American Idiot] since the Actors Fund performance in October and it was also my first time seeing Jeanna de Waal as Heather.  The casts’ pre-show “fuck time!”-ritual was clearly audible to the house which not only got the cast energized, but also the audience (at least those who knew what they were doing).  

The show was exceptionally energetic last night, and it was held for a minute here or there to allow for the copious amount of applause at both the beginning and end of “St. Jimmy.”  I believe they were having trouble with the projections because during “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” there was a red box projected with the ‘city,’ and there was no falling paper during “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”    de Waal was enjoyable and clearly needs a bit more time to ease into the role and maybe get a bit more in touch with her character.  Though she has a great voice, her singing sounded stunted (paused? slow?) against the beat of the music.  Michael Esper lost a few of his high notes during “Nobody Likes You” for the first time (that I’ve seen) since previews.  

But Tony Vincent was the star last night.  He gave his all vocally, and mentally.  He wailed his way through “Know Your Enemy,” the way he did in Berkeley before he (or anyone else in the cast) was concerned with vocal-upkeep.  He made no speech at the end, though the cast was sure trying to get him to deliver one during their guitar riffing (pictured above) after curtain call.  He looked grateful for all of the praise.

Thank you, Jimmy.  

Jimmy died today… December 30th, 2010.  

The last time we were pictured together, it was 2006 and he was bald. More to come…

Today I went to the ‘American Idiot'-themed yoga class at Pure Yoga on the Upper East Side (86th and 3rd).  The class was $30 and all proceeds went to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.  All participants were given a copy of the OBCR as well.  When I heard that there was going to be a union of two of my favorite things, and that I was actually available to go, I was ecstatic but confused.  What songs by Green Day were appropriate as a soundtrack for practicing yoga?  

I’ve done yoga 4-6 times per week using Yoga Journal podcasts since mid-January, but it’d been a while since I’d taken an actual class.  I paid, put my things in a cubby near the main desk and walked into the room where the class would take place and heard a version of “When I Come Around” played by wind chimes over the sound system, and then a similar version of “Good Riddance.”  I chatted up the instructor about where she found these versions and she said on iTunes, and then she said I could have the CD after.  Sweet!

The class was a great work out and really perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon.  The room was warmly lit and exuded a sense of relaxation.  The music, surprisingly, fit right in.  I fixed some of the problems that I’d apparently run into in my last year of practice, as well as some things that I didn’t know I was doing wrong.  At times I found myself paying too much attention to the music though, running through the lyrics in my head and almost falling over in a three-legged down dog.  The set list was as follows:

  1. When I Come Around (from Rockabilly Baby! Lullaby Versions of Green Day)
  2. Good Riddance (from Rockabilly Baby! Lullaby Versions of Green Day)
  3. When It’s Time (American Idiot OBCR)
  4. Basketcase (acoustic version covered by a woman, not sure who!)
  5. Before the Lobotomy (OBCR)
  6. Boulevard of Broken Dreams (OBCR)
  7. Last Night on Earth (OBCR)
  8. 21 Guns (OBCR)
  9. Give Me Novocaine (OBCR)
  10. Whatshername (OBCR)
  11. When I Come Around (original album version)
  12. Wake Me Up When September Ends (OBCR)
  13. When It’s Time (BJA’s album version)
  14. Good Riddance (original album version)
  15. When I Come Around (Rockabilly Baby!)

It turns out that there’s a lot of appropriate music by Green Day to practice yoga to.  I told the studio directors that they should teach the class once a week, and hopefully someday they (or someone else) will.  The work out, of course, was amazing too.  

You can purchase the Rockabilly Baby! album here, and the American Idiot cast recording here.  Apologies for the crappy photo - it was taken on my blackberry.