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Q & A: 'American Idiot' star talks clubbing in castles, parental advisory stickers and more

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    Q & A: 'American Idiot' star talks clubbing in castles, parental advisory stickers and more
    April 10, 2013

    EAST LANSING, MI -- Based on Green Day’s Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum album, "American Idiot," the Broadway hit of the same name comes to the Wharton Center starting tomorrow, Tuesday, April 9.

    The show tells the story of three lifelong friends forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia.

    MLive was able to chat with Alex Nee, who plays Johnny in the show. Here's what he had to say about his early love of Green Day, the stage and more.

    For tickets or more info visit www.whartoncenter.com.

     

    Q. What drew you to performing on stage?

    A. When I first stepped on a stage in third grade, I felt a rush like no other. I feel most human when I'm performing. Vulnerable and invincible at the same time. 

    Q. When did you realize you wanted this as a career vs. a hobby?

    A. I think I started realizing in high school that I wanted to pursue theater professionally. I did a few professional plays and musicals in the San Francisco area and got to work with some amazing older professionals. I looked up to them and found myself wanting to be like them too.

    Q. Tell us a bit about landing the role in "American Idiot." How did that come about? Why did you want the role?

    A. I had seen the show on Broadway early on in my college career. I absolutely loved it - everything was so daring, fresh and exciting. However, I never thought that I would get to play Johnny, especially at such an early age. It was really just a fortuitous combination of people timing and place. I was in Chicago playing Roger in "Rent" when the casting director for "American Idiot" came to town. He was friends with my director so decided to see me for "AI." After six months of callbacks and flying back and forth to New York, I landed the role. I couldn't have been happier. 

    Q. Were you a Green Day fan before the show?

    A. I've been listening to Green Day since I was 10 years old. "Dookie" was actually one of the first albums I bought with my own money. I had to hide it from my parents because of the parental advisory label.

    Q. What will audiences (even non-Green Day fans) like about "American Idiot?"

    A. The energy. It's a powerhouse show that doesn't let up the whole time. We put our sweat and blood into this show and I think that raw unbridled energy is infectious and inspiring. 

    Q. What are your thoughts about life on the road?

    A. It's like nothing else. You never really know what day it is or where you are. You become this sort of universal, timeless being that has to just live in the moment. You become so close with everyone in the company. You get to explore and travel with a bunch of your best friends. At the same time living on the road definitely makes it hard to stay healthy. It can be exhausting. 

    Q. What is one thing you have to have with you while you travel?

    A. A steamer. Changing climates all the time is rough on your voice (so is doing eight shows a week). Having a little steamer is invaluable and can really help fix a lot of vocal problems.

    Q. What's been your favorite spot so far?

    A. I'd have to say Edinburgh, Scotland. Such a beautiful old city that has a really young hip vibe. Going clubbing in a castle is pretty surreal.

    Q. What are the challenges of playing Johnny?

    A. It's hard to make him likeable. He's sarcastic, self pitying, a failure. Not the normal qualities of a protagonist. So I try to focus on all of his positive intentions. Johnny is extremely passionate and is trying his best to find an outlet for that passion so he can grow up and find his place in the world. 

    Full interview at MLive.com: HERE

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Brian's picture
on April 10, 2013

EAST LANSING, MI -- Based on Green Day’s Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum album, "American Idiot," the Broadway hit of the same name comes to the Wharton Center starting tomorrow, Tuesday, April 9.

The show tells the story of three lifelong friends forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia.

MLive was able to chat with Alex Nee, who plays Johnny in the show. Here's what he had to say about his early love of Green Day, the stage and more.

For tickets or more info visit www.whartoncenter.com.

 

Q. What drew you to performing on stage?

A. When I first stepped on a stage in third grade, I felt a rush like no other. I feel most human when I'm performing. Vulnerable and invincible at the same time. 

Q. When did you realize you wanted this as a career vs. a hobby?

A. I think I started realizing in high school that I wanted to pursue theater professionally. I did a few professional plays and musicals in the San Francisco area and got to work with some amazing older professionals. I looked up to them and found myself wanting to be like them too.

Q. Tell us a bit about landing the role in "American Idiot." How did that come about? Why did you want the role?

A. I had seen the show on Broadway early on in my college career. I absolutely loved it - everything was so daring, fresh and exciting. However, I never thought that I would get to play Johnny, especially at such an early age. It was really just a fortuitous combination of people timing and place. I was in Chicago playing Roger in "Rent" when the casting director for "American Idiot" came to town. He was friends with my director so decided to see me for "AI." After six months of callbacks and flying back and forth to New York, I landed the role. I couldn't have been happier. 

Q. Were you a Green Day fan before the show?

A. I've been listening to Green Day since I was 10 years old. "Dookie" was actually one of the first albums I bought with my own money. I had to hide it from my parents because of the parental advisory label.

Q. What will audiences (even non-Green Day fans) like about "American Idiot?"

A. The energy. It's a powerhouse show that doesn't let up the whole time. We put our sweat and blood into this show and I think that raw unbridled energy is infectious and inspiring. 

Q. What are your thoughts about life on the road?

A. It's like nothing else. You never really know what day it is or where you are. You become this sort of universal, timeless being that has to just live in the moment. You become so close with everyone in the company. You get to explore and travel with a bunch of your best friends. At the same time living on the road definitely makes it hard to stay healthy. It can be exhausting. 

Q. What is one thing you have to have with you while you travel?

A. A steamer. Changing climates all the time is rough on your voice (so is doing eight shows a week). Having a little steamer is invaluable and can really help fix a lot of vocal problems.

Q. What's been your favorite spot so far?

A. I'd have to say Edinburgh, Scotland. Such a beautiful old city that has a really young hip vibe. Going clubbing in a castle is pretty surreal.

Q. What are the challenges of playing Johnny?

A. It's hard to make him likeable. He's sarcastic, self pitying, a failure. Not the normal qualities of a protagonist. So I try to focus on all of his positive intentions. Johnny is extremely passionate and is trying his best to find an outlet for that passion so he can grow up and find his place in the world. 

Full interview at MLive.com: HERE

Comments

That1PersonUForgot's picture

I was there- amazing! I had my grandma with me, and she needed earplugs, lol.
Great show! I absolutely loved it!

JadenMcCallum's picture

I was at that show. Spectacular.

Sharon Mitchell's picture

The show was incredible on tour - the cast seemed as passionate abouththeir performances as the band do when they play live.  Come back to the UK!!!!!!!