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Touring production of 'American Idiot' blends Green Day-inspired rock opera and Broadway

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'American Idiot'

What: Based on punk rock band Green Day's album of the same name, this rock opera tells the story of three friends longing to escape from suburbia.
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Embassy Theatre, 121 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Cost: $34.90 and $66.70, including fees. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster locations, www.ticketmaster.com, 1-800-745-3000 and at the Embassy box office, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd., open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Etc.: “American Idiot” contains adult content and strong language.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 12:01 am

W hat happens when punk rock meets Broadway?

You get “American Idiot.”

The rock opera based on the music of Green Day will be at the Embassy Theatre for one performance Tuesday as part of the Broadway at the Embassy series.

Released in 2004, Green Day's album, “American Idiot,” caught the attention of Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer. He floated the idea of turning the music of “American Idiot” into a rock musical to Green Day lead vocalist-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong. In 2010, the musical opened on Broadway, running for a year. Now it's on its third tour.

Described as louder and edgier than a typical Broadway musical — this isn't “Okalahoma!” — the cast features young performers and may attract a younger audience.

The story is about three restless young men, Johnny, Will and Tunny, who long to escape from suburbia. Johnny moves to a big city, falls in love with a girl he calls Whatsername, and eventually develops a drug addiction. Will stays home when he finds his girlfriend is pregnant. Tunny joins the Army and goes off to war.

Taylor Jones, 22, plays Tunny's love interest, Extraordinary Girl. Jones, who is from California's Bay Area, doesn't have a degree or formal training, but she has been doing theater since she was 10. Speaking via phone from Pembroke, N.C., where the cast was performing Tuesday night, Jones said she sent in a video audition last year and got cast. The show went on tour in October.

Despite some long days on the road, Jones describes the opportunity as a dream come true.

“I get to sing and dance every night,” she said, “and that's all I can really ask for.”

She confirms that the show is “really different from other musicals. It's almost a rock concert. The music is loud, fast — music that we grew up listening to.”

In her role as Tunny's love interest, she portrays a military nurse.

“It's fun,” she said. “I get to play all sides.”

That includes one fantasy number in which she plays a sexy genie.

Jones mostly enjoys being on the road, although she does miss her friends and parents and “really just being in one place for more than two weeks.” (The company spent two weeks in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

She's a month and a half away from being done on this tour, and where her career goes next is uncertain. She's interested in “anything and everything. Obviously, Broadway's a goal.”