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Bon voyage, American Idiot!

posted by Elana McKernan on Wed, Nov 18, 2009
in At the theatre

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AI close party scene

I am not a tremendously emotional person. I rarely cry at movies, the only books that make me sniffly are ones in which small furry things of the animal variety meet an untimely end, and any sadness I feel during airport goodbyes is usually overwhelmed by my anxiety about flying. However, it was difficult not to get a little teary-eyed last Sunday night during the closing number of American Idiot, and when the curtain rose again for the cast's final Berkeley Rep encore performance, I had to prod fellow intern (sorry, fellow fellow) Lizz Guzman for a tissue. Thankfully, she came prepared.

AI close party JoshThe cast seemed equally emotional, basking in the audience's enthusiastic applause for three separate curtain calls, glistening with sweat and tears, and coming together at the end of it all in a giant enthusiastic dog pile on John Gallagher, Jr. We, the audience, were lucky to experience the magical closing night performance of American Idiot, and we knew it. The actors sang and danced as though their lives depended on it, and we reciprocated by screaming and clapping as though ours did too. 

Following the performance, cast and crew headed over to Hotel Shattuck Plaza for a closing-night celebration of wine, dancing, and food. Highlights included catering by the amazing local Italian food mecca, Trattoria Siciliana, Green Day's gracious and emotional support of the project, and dancing with the cast and staff of Berkeley Rep.

One of my favorite Idiot-related memories will always be AI ensemble member Chase Peacock's brilliant Beyoncé imitation during "Single Ladies." Beyoncé, watch out! (See photo below.)

AI close party Chase

When I describe American Idiot to my friends, I generally don't use the words "performance." "Phenomenon" seems more apt. The cast and crew swept in here and challenged, inspired, and awed all of us here at Berkeley Rep. American Idiot, we will miss you, but we know you are headed for great things. And pass the tissues, will ya?  

Top photo: The American Idiot cast and Berkeley Rep staff members dance up a storm at the closing-night party. Center photo: AI cast members Theo Stockman and Joshua Henry get funky. Bottom photo: AI cast member Chase Peacock gives Beyoncé a run for her money.

Photos courtesy of Alexandra Friedman


I am a high school English teacher. A student of mine is doing a research paper on THE AMERICAN IDIOT. One of the requirements of the paper is a personal interview, either face-to-face or by phone or email. Is anybody sufficiently linked to this production willing to be interviewed? I will forward her email to you ir yours to her. Thanks!

Linda Napoletano | Tue, Feb 2, 2010

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