Playbill.com Photo Exclusive: More of Touring American Idiot in Rehearsal

Photo credit: Doug Hamilton & Playbill.com.

Playbill.com: The first national tour of Green Day's American Idiot, featuring several members of the Broadway cast, officially launches this month in Toronto. Here is the cast in a recent rehearsal at New 42nd Street Studios.

For more of the cast in rehearsal, visit the source here.
Posted on 18 Dec 2011 by Nicole
The Big Interview: Jake Epstein from Degrassi to American Idiot

Photo credit: Tina Fineberg/The Canadian Press

...But despite all of this (and frequent family trips to Broadway to see musicals), Epstein didn’t want to go into show business.

“I wanted to be a soccer player.” No surprise there. “And then I wanted to be a rabbi.”

That stops the conversation dead and not just because he’s halfway through a rack of pork ribs at the time.

“I was very spiritual as a kid. I think I felt and thought about things a lot more deeply than most of the other kids my age. I wanted to help people.”

And it’s true. At the height of his Degrassi fame, he took time off to go to Kenya and build houses for the homeless there and to this day, if the conversation gets just a bit too shallow for too long, you can sense Epstein zoning out and going to another place.

“When did I leave the rabbi track? I didn’t. I’m still on the rabbi track. It just keeps moving in different directions.”

Epstein amassed a lot of impressive theatre credits as a kid without even trying, appearing in Soulpepper’s original production of Our Town at the Royal Alex and playing The Artful Dodger in the Sam Mendes’ staged version of Oliver! that Cameron Mackintosh and the Mirvishes brought to the Princess of Wales Theatre in 1999, when he was only 12.

Then things took a drastic detour.

“When I was in Grade 7, I went to my very first rock concert in my life. Green Day. It was at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. I don’t know how I convinced my mom to let me go. It was the first time I ever smelled marijuana. It was the first time I ever heard music that loud. It was awesome! I formed a band of my own shortly after that.

“And for a while that was it for me. All funk. Tower of Power. James Brown. Rage Against the Machine.” He grins ironically. “Yeah, man!”

Then he went to Claude Watson School for the Arts and “it opened my eyes to show business as something you could do for life, something you could work hard at but still enjoy.”

And it helped keep his head on straight during the Degrassi years, when co-star Drake, then known as Aubrey Drake Graham, became one of his best friends. Those were years full of media attention, screaming fans, Gemini Awards and, er, other benefits.

“It allowed me to go out with girls I shouldn’t have gone out with. Look, when you’re an awkward teenager and suddenly girls way out of your league are going after you, sure, you’re gonna take advantage of it.” He pauses, remembering those days. “Even if they wound up taking advantage of you instead.”

It was kind of a shock to the system for Epstein to leave that world of TV adulation and plunge into the no-frills theatre studies of the National Theatre School, but he made that choice, leaving Degrassi to do it.

Read more in this article by Richard Ouzounian at thestar.com: The Big Interview: Jake Epstein from Degrassi to American Idiot.

Webmaster note: This is a fantastic interview. It was hard to pick out an excerpt to post here at c-a.com because there's several stories that will be new to Jake Epstein fans and there's also some great quotes. This interview felt really genuine.
Posted on 18 Dec 2011 by Nicole
The Canadian Jewish News: Degrassi grad stars in Green Day rock opera
...Epstein is known to television audiences for his role as Craig in Degrassi: The Next Generation and to theatre-goers for a number of productions, most recently the musical Billy Elliot. However, it was his role as Melchior in the North American tour of Spring Awakening, which had the same production team as American Idiot, that got him his current role.

“American Idiot tells the story of three friends, Will, Johnny [Van Hughes] and Tunny [Scott J. Campbell], who want to get out of suburbia and make something of their lives. So, they all make plans to move to the city,” says Epstein. “My character, Will, is a slacker, who is into hard-core punk music.

“Will finds out that his girlfriend, Heather [Leslie McDonel], is pregnant, so he is left behind. He is stuck in suburbia, and spends most of the play on a couch. I don’t leave the stage for the whole show. It is probably the strangest part I’ve ever played in my life.”

The musical includes the hit Boulevard of Broken Dreams and the title track American Idiot. In 2010, the show garnered a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.

Ironically, even though Epstein spends a lot of his performance on the couch, he says he finds it to be a demanding show. “It is a really physical show. It’s really in your body. We have to do a ton of core and body conditioning before every rehearsal. I am really excited. It’s like nothing I have ever done before.”

Epstein saw the original production of American Idiot in Berkeley, Calif., in 2009 during a workshop. He caught the multiple Tony Award-winning Broadway production during its March 2010 to April 2011 run at the St. James Theatre in New York.

In addition to touring with American Idiot for nine months, Epstein will be seen next season in an episode of the Murdoch Mysteries on CBC-TV and in an indie film called Blood Pressure.

Read more at The Canadian Jewish News here.
Posted on 18 Dec 2011 by Nicole
Playbill.com Photo Exclusive: PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: "Can You Hear the Sound of Hysteria?" American Idiot Tour Cast in Rehearsal

Photo credit: Joseph Marzullo & Playbill.com.

"The first national tour of Green Day's American Idiot, featuring several members of the Broadway cast, officially launches this month in Toronto. Playbill.com offers an exclusive look at the company rehearsing in New York Dec. 10."

For more photos, information about the cast and crew, and tour dates visit the source at Playbill.com: PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: "Can You Hear the Sound of Hysteria?" American Idiot Tour Cast in Rehearsal.
Posted on 15 Dec 2011 by Nicole

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