Rebecca Naomi Jones is clocking many hours on Broadway in her underwear. In “American Idiot,” the new rock musical inspired by the multi-platinum Green Day album of the same name, a skimpy costume is one of Jones’s onstage challenges—reinterpreting songs from the all-male punk-pop band is another.
The 29-year-old native of New York City, last on Broadway with the 2008 musical “Passing Strange,” is back with the intense 90-minute rock opera now in previews at the St. James Theatre. As “Whatsername,” a role she originated when “American Idiot” played at California’s Berkeley Repertory Theatre last year, she sings hard-charging songs that include “21 Guns,” originally sung by Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong on the band’s 2009 album “21st Century Breakdown.”
The child of a white Jewish mother and a black father, she worked through Passover and her birthday this week while getting ready for the show’s April 20 opening. She spoke with the Wall Street Journal on Friday afternoon while grabbing a wheatgrass shot to soothe her aching throat.
[Read the full interview at Wall Street Journal]