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What an opening, what a party

posted by Chad Jones on Mon, Sep 21, 2009
in At the theatre

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AI party 9

In the history of opening-night parties, last week’s bash for American Idiot will go down as one of the greats. Now that the frenzy and excitement has calmed somewhat, we can look back with clear heads on a night that was, from beginning to end, an absolute blast (Photo above: Green Day's Tré Cool hangs out with cast member Matt Caplan).

Levi’s®, the lead sponsor of American Idiot, organized the opening-night party and sent their crews in days before to begin setting up. That’s how big and elaborate this event was.

With a true sense of theatricality, party organizers blacked out the windows in the Roda Theatre lobby so that patrons arriving for the opening-night performance of American Idiot would not be able to see into the courtyard and beyond at the treats that waited for them after the show.

As if the anticipation over American Idiot itself wasn’t enough, audience members knew something big and something good was brewing for the post-show festivities.

On stage, actors and musicians delivered an absolutely powerhouse performance. Audience members were standing and cheering even before the show was over, and after the final curtain call,as we headed out of the theatre, we were handed little guides to what awaited us at the party.

AI Party 1

And oh, what a party. Nearly every space at Berkeley Rep, from the courtyard to the Thrust Stage to the second-floor lobby in the Roda, was transformed into what can best be described as a punk carnival. Boots and shredded jeans adorned the trees in the courtyard. Theatrical lighting made everybody look good, and the amusement attractions were indeed attractive.

Upstairs in the Roda, people inspired by the rock-and-roll fire of the show lined up to play Guitar Hero . And here’s the good news post script on that: the folks at Levi’s® let us keep the video game, which will be available for play before and after certain performances of American Idiot.

Downstairs, amid tables of food provided by Bistro Liaison, party-goers gleefully bounced from one entertainment to the other.

AI party 4

Levi’s®, who really takes its new "go forth" slogan to heart, set up a hair-cutting booth and offered Mohawks to any takers, of which there were several (as seen in the photo above). In what is now a famous moment during the party, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong gave a Mohawk to Alice DJ Ickys. Berkeley Rep’s literary manager and dramaturg, Madeleine Oldham, also received a fabulous new punky look, but not at the hands of Billie Joe.

AI party 11

The Polite in Public rock-and-roll photo booth tucked into a corner of the courtyard past the snow cone booth where the flavors included many different kinds of vodka, allowed revelers to don hippie costumes (if they wanted) and to strike classic rock poses for the black-and-white camera. (Above: Billie Joe Armstrong and choreographer Steven Hoggett clearly enjoyed the booth.) The speed of digital technology allowed subjects to walk away with their photos. Happily, all the photos taken that night are also available for viewing online.

AI party 7

The Levi’s® designers did a masterful job of transforming the Thrust into a grungy dance club (above), complete with fans to keep the heat from overtaking the dance floor/mosh pit. The DJ’s playlist included a selection of classic rock and punk with the underlying common denominator being this: it was all booty-shakin’.

AI party 6

And, of course, one of the highlights of the party was being able to rub shoulders with the members of Green Day. Billie Joe (seen above with a fan) and his bandmates, Tré Cool, and Mike Dirnt, signed autographs and chatted enthusiastically about the show. Members of the cast and creative team also filtered into the crowd, raising the celebrity quota to a nearly delirious level.

AI party 8

The Levi’s® crew’s attention to detail, from the punk band names spray painted on the sidewalk in front of the theatres (not to worry – it’s washable paint) to the giant American Idiot banners hanging everywhere, was phenomenal…as was the entire party itself.

Photos by Cheshire Isaacs
(except Polite in Public photo booth photo)

Comments:

Thank you Berkeley rep, Levi's, cast & crew, and of course Green Day for an AMAZING night! The show was fantastic, the party was mindblowing. I will never forget it and wish you all the best!

Rachel | Mon, Sep 21, 2009


My mind, she is blown. I am in awe. As an East Bay native and a Green Day fan since 1994 (age 14), I wasn't sure what to expect, but jaw, meet floor. You took American Idiot to a whole new level. Brilliant show and unbelievable afterparty. THANK YOU to everyone involved in making this magic happen!

Lori | Wed, Sep 23, 2009


Hi Berkeley rep.
The party was awesome and i enjoyed it lot and never forget it through my entire life.

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That was a great night for me. It was awesome party. Great enjoyment. Need

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That was a great night for me. It was awesome party. Great enjoyment. Need

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Great Blog and cool pictures. Hope every single person in the party was enjoying with joy and fun. I miss it. thank you for sharing your perfect moment.

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I've recently started a blog, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

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"In the history of opening-night parties, last week’s bash for American Idiot will go down as one of the greats."

I still remember it well.

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