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Billie Joe does St. Jimmy at the St. James

posted by Terence Keane on Thu, Sep 30, 2010
in Our shows , Shows on tour

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Did you hear? Billie Joe Armstrong -- that local punk who grew up to be the international punk -- just made his Broadway debut in our production of American Idiot. Tony Vincent had to take a break for a few days to attend to a family matter, so Billie Joe stepped into the role! This week only, he's playing St. Jimmy at the St. James Theater in Times Square alongside the rest of our cast.

Watch Billie Joe and his cohorts singing "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" during the curtain call on Tuesday night. Our managing director, Susie Medak, was there and she says, "The crowds were huge, and Billie Joe was awesome. Generous, scary, soulful." Which is, of course, perfect for the charismatic drug dealer he's portraying.

But don't take our word for it. You can read a review of his performance on MTV.com, or watch the accompanying video with interviews from thrilled fans who were lucky enough to be in the audience that night.

The New York Times notes that "Mr. Armstrong’s yearslong involvement in American Idiot, to the point of joining the cast, is without equal for a major American rock performer." Even better, our board member, Felicia Woytak, points out a comment posted about it on the Times' blog. An audience member penned a little ditty that puts the evening in context with the hallowed history of the St. James Theater:

ODE TO BILLIE JOE

We’d seen some people pull out flyers, did they think they would be good this week?
No there were many willing buyers, even us, and I’m a Gershwin geek
And as the lights went down we heard somebody say this stuff was quasi-punk
But as I listened to the sound I got swept in, well really who’d have thunk?

Some say he's singer more than actor, I won’t fight if that’s what someone claims
But I loved Billie Joe, John Gallagher and Green Day at the old St. James

Heck, I saw Patti walk the aisle there, she had us with “Sing out Louise”
Nathan wowed in The Producers; honey, pass the kish-kas please
Saw the Merm do her great Dolly there; oh bubbie, get your dad the pie
But then I saw this Billie Joe, I’m goin’ back three times, don’t ask me why

'Cause now your Mama listens to this stuff and Papa he gets mad and blames
The week that Billie Joe, John Gallagher and Green Day rocked the old St. James

It's going to be quite a week. Then Billie Joe heads off to Caracas, Venezuela to join the rest of the band for its South American tour. And American Idiot will keep on rocking Broadway for months to come.

Photo by Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

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