Michael Mayer knows a thing or two about coming of age.
The Maryland-born director won a Tony Award for his work guiding the 2006 Broadway hit "Spring Awakening," which chronicles teens getting a grip on their budding sexuality. In 2010, he directed "American Idiot," a punk rock musical based on the Green Day album of that name, which follows a group of cynical, spent youths as they seek excitement in a big city.
Mayer didn't just direct the latter, but collaborated on the book with Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong. "American Idiot," which reaches Baltimore next week as part of a national tour, solidified Mayer's reputation as one of the most gifted figures on the theater scene.
"For me, a journey of self-discovery and identity, regardless of context, is always great material for a musical," Mayer, 52, said. "When you consider the jaded kids in 'American Idiot,' products of those bad Bush years, how different, really, are they from Dorothy Gale in drab Kansas, going off to Oz and coming back home again?"