So, on Thursday night, the cast of American Idiot performed on The David Letterman Show, using the song ‘Holiday.’ This is the third song the cast has done on national television. I thought this song worked fantastically for late-night television. It’s my educated opinion that in performing all of these different numbers, they’re testing the waters for their Tony Awards performance. Let’s recap.
21 Guns: Performed at the 52nd Annual Grammy’s in January. Green Day was nominated for this song, so that’s why they “chose” to perform it, and it was a brilliant marketing scheme because it sparked a $1m+ spike in ticket sales for the show. Was it a good representation of the show? No, not at all, in my opinion. I think it’s very hard to understand if taken out of the context of the show and it’s a ballad which doesn’t capture the high-energy core of the show at all (obviously). On the other hand, it displays Tom Kitt’s outrageously gorgeous orchestrations of the show extremely well.
Wake Me Up When September Ends: Performed this past Tuesday, April 27th, on Regis and Kelly. More beautiful arrangements by Tom Kitt on display by John Gallagher Jr, Michael Esper, and Stark Sands. Also a lovely performance, and an appropriate choice for a morning show (who really wants a hard-core punk rock number on at 9:15am?). Regis and Kelly’s praise of the show didn’t really hurt either.
Holiday (see above): Performed on Letterman this past Thursday, April 29th. This has been my favorite choice of numbers thus-far. They were performing well past 11:30pm and had greater freedom do an edgier number because of lack of television restrictions at that hour. This performance encompassed everything that I love about the show (mainly the high energy aspect). I watched this for a second time yesterday morning on my lunch break and was exhausted with the cast after they finished. That’s what I love about the show, it grabs you emotionally and you “feel” everything as they go through it onstage. A step in the right direction for the Tony performance, but still not quite there yet.
What number do I think will best represent the show on the Tonys? (Given that they’re nominated for Best Musical, fingers crossed!) The title number and show-opener, American Idiot. The producers should raise some capital to build a smaller-scale version of the set and perform the opening number exactly how it’s performed at the theatre, with the curtain rise and all (I can’t recall if Radio City has curtains on their smaller stages or not). The song isn’t long so they could perform it in it’s entirety (it’s under 3 minutes, and I believe shows are allotted about 4 minutes of stage time) so they could throw a small part of another in it too (though I think tacking anything onto the end of that song is unnecessary, but if you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for that national publicity, I’m pretty sure you’re going to want to use ALL of it). And yes, a single performance at the Tony Awards does usually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (word has it that Spring Awakening’s 2007 Tony Awards performance cost upwards of $1m). As a Tony nominee, you are given the 4 minutes but you have to produce the segment yourself (as in the show’s producers). The Tony Committee gives the shows a small piece of that ($15-$20k), even still with union costs, building a new set, the airtime… it adds up!
So, what’d you think American Idiot should be perform at the Tony Awards?
(video via fuckyeahjohngallagherjr)
Thanks to producer Ken Davenport for clarifying some facts for me!