The panel discussion Transitioning Into A True Rock Opera: Green Day’s American Idiot took place on the afternoon of Tuesday October 19 in NYU’s Kimmel Center. The panel, comprised of Tom Kitt, the music arranger for American Idiot, Carmel Dean, the show’s musical director, and leading actress Rebecca Naomi Jones was moderated by Freedome Bradley, the Dance Curator and Theater Curator of SummerStage. The discussion was centered around American Idiot, the new Broadway rock opera based on and inspired by songs mainly from the Green Day albums American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown.
Topics included the process of taking an album to the Broadway stage, how the music was arranged and how Green Day themselves contributed to the process. The panel mentioned Green Day front man Billy Joe Armstrong’s recent fill in performances for male lead Tony Vincent, describing how completely natural and wonderful it was to have him on stage. Moreover, the panel spoke to the unique qualities of a rock opera, namely that the music must speak for itself instead of being reliant upon bookish explanatory scenes included in regular musicals. At the end of the discussion, the floor was opened up to questions from the audience.