Green Day took Broadway by storm with their hit musical AMERICAN IDIOT, which is more-or-less a stage adaption of their record-breaking album by the same title and also features select music from 21st Century Breakdown, Green Day b-sides, and the song "When It's Time." The musical tells the story of three disillusioned young American men who look for meaning in modern American life. With only a week until the show hits Houston stages, I chatted with Cason Higgins, who plays the adventurous drug dealer St. Jimmy, about the rock musical.
BWW: How did you first get involved in theatre?
Carson Higgins: When I was in elementary school, my fourth grade teacher actually told my mom that I was too energetic for the classroom [Laughs] and that I needed some sort of outlet. She recommended to my mom this children's theatre group in my town, and she said, "Maybe you should put him in the play. He seems to like to entertain everyone during my class, so why don't you put him somewhere he can do it and it's allowed." [Laughs] That's honestly where it all started for me.
BWW: When did you know you wanted to perform professionally?
Carson Higgins: I can't think of an exact moment, really. It's been the only thing I've ever really wanted since I can remember wanting anything. I guess when I was around 10 years old, my grandma took me to see THE LION KING, the Broadway show, and I already knew all the songs and everything. But, when I saw it on stage I thought, "Oh! People do this for real on stage?" [Laughs] That's kind of where that started for me. It's when I saw THE LION KING.
BWW: How did you come to be involved with the National Tour of Green Day's AMERICAN IDIOT?
Carson Higgins: I was on season 10 of American Idol. I got to about the top 50, and someone who I knew a little bit-they were like a family friend and a manager of actors-contacted me. He said, "Carson, I had no idea that you could sing. Why don't we meet up and talk?" So, I met up with this guy. I say "this guy," but he's someone I knew. He just started sending me out for stuff, and the first thing he sent me out for was the First National Tour of AMERICAN IDIOT. I went and auditioned and got to final callbacks. I'm from Los Angeles, and for the final callback, I had to fly to New York. It was very exciting, but I didn't get the part. I thought, "Oh well. It was cool just to get that far."
I went back to Los Angeles and was auditioning for things, and I did a couple of little things here and there. The office of AMERICAN IDIOT called me personally and just said, "Hey! You were in a small group of people that we really liked last time. You didn't quite get cast, be we really like you. Would you be willing to come back and try again?" I said, "Absolutely." So, I came back and did the whole process over again. Only this time I got the part.
BWW: How did you prepare for the character of St. Jimmy?
Carson Higgins: [Laughs] St. Jimmy is an interesting character to prepare for. [Laughs] I mean, if you were going to go full out in preparing for this guy, you might wind up dead because he's a lunatic. He's like a... God, how do you describe him? He's like part demon and part god of some kind. [Laughs] He's just a very rambunctious fellow. He also turns the lead character on to heroin, so if I were to start doing that I'd probably wind up in a big mess. So, for me, personally, I just kind of channeled my inner rock star and my inner lunatic and just tried to go out there and make my presence known the best I could.
BWW: What is your favorite aspect of AMERICAN IDIOT?
Carson Higgins: I think its originality is a big part of why myself and a lot of people like the show. It's definitely not your normal musical. I say "normal" loosely. Not many musicals are the same, but when you say, "I'm going to see a musical tonight," there's a connotation that you put on that. Maybe tap shoes and a lot of smiling, lovebirds, and stuff. [Laughs] This is a much more in-your-face, hard edged rock show that has a heart in the center of it. My favorite part is just how unlike any other show it is and how much it stands out in musical theatre as something very unique.
Full interview at Broadway World: HERE