Little Butterfly Theatre Company Presents Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ on July 23-26th at 1st Stage

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Just off her success for McLean High School with Big Fish, which rose to local and national prominence, Director Amy E. Poe is leading a cast of young adults in American Idiot.

The rock musical features the music of Green Day and will run July 23-26, 2015, at 1st Stage in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. It is a DC-area premiere save for the touring Broadway production at National Theatre in the District in 2014. Directed by Bethesda native Michael Mayer, the Broadway show won two Tony Awards in 2010 for scenic and lighting design.

american-idiot

Poe is a creative genius who has an eye for magical staging and an inspiring way with young actors, singers, dancers, musicians, artists and theater technicians.  She recently resigned after five years as the theater teacher and director at McLean High School, citing irreconcilable artistic differences with Fairfax County Public Schools.

Poe’s final show for the school, Big Fish, won five Cappies (Critics and Awards Program of the National Capital Area) awards, including the coveted Best Musical, on June 7, and on June 25 was a top-seeded performance at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska, where a critic called it “flawless.” It was the first time in 15 years a show from a DC, Maryland or Virginia school was selected to perform on the main stage at the festival. Nearly 4,000 appreciative high school drama students and teachers saw the show, which starred McLean high school graduate Alex Stone.

Poe, who married Texas businessman and rock drummer Dan Voehse on July 4,  is now back in town for one final month to bring Green Day’s powerhouse album to life in American Idiot, a gritty tale of youthful angst.

With lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong, the performance-based rock opera is based on Green Day’s Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum album. The high-energy show includes every song from the concept album American Idiot, as well as several from the follow-up 21st Century Breakdown. Both were composed by vocalist/guitarist Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool, who hail from the Berkeley punk underground scene. The song “Know Your Enemy” was the first to top Billboard’s rock, alternative, and mainstream rock charts at the same time.  It is featured prominently in the musical.

Woven neatly into the plot are the characters of Johnny, Tunny and Will, who were created by Mayer, based on his interpretation of Armstrong’s lyrics.  The three disenchanted young men struggle to find meaning in a post-9/11 world by fleeing the constraints of their boring suburban hometown for the excitement of city life. But their paths diverge when Tunny enters the armed services, Will chooses to stay with family, and Johnny is entranced by love and drugs, which are represented by the characters Whatsername and St. Jimmy.

Poe started Little Butterfly Theatre Company in 2014 after the high school administration refused to let her stage the musical Spring Awakening due to parental outcry over perceived mature content. But Poe says young people often deal with unwanted pregnancy, drugs and suicide and that the performances initiate a useful dialog. In her community staging of Spring Awakening in 2014, she intentionally cast students from two public schools that had experienced multiple suicides.

Poe, 32, will continue to direct the nonprofit Little Butterfly Theatre Company in Dallas, where she will live in the Arts District with Voehse.

“Little Butterfly is a place where young adults can create new and relevant theatre, challenge social norms, stretch the limits of the theatrical art form and make innovative theatre for modern audiences,” she said.  Previous credits also include Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (2015).

1st Stage, located between the Silver Line and the Dulles Toll Road at 1524 Spring Hill Rd, McLean, Va., is the creation of a group of teachers, artists and actors in Fairfax County who wanted to bring professional theatre to Tysons Corner and give local artists an opportunity to grow in their careers. Tickets to American Idiot may be purchased here: www.littlebutterflytheatrecompany.com.

Production

Director: Amy E. Poe

Musical Director: Walter “Bobby” McCoy, 1st Stage

Technical Director: Aaron Fensterheim, 1st Stage

 Stage Manager: Breezy Johnson, Senior, McLean High School

Choreographer: Marielle Burt, Freshman, Brown University

Production Manager: Kim Johnson, LBTC

Cast list

Johnny: Ben Ribler, Junior, George Mason University

Tunny: Jack Posey, Senior, McLean High School

Will: Carlos Castillo, Freshman, Rider University

St. Jimmy: Ben Peter, Sophomore, George Mason University

Favorite Son, Joshua: Levi Meerovich, Freshman, Virginia Commonwealth University

Whatsername: Nicole Sheehan, Senior, McLean High School

Heather: Lily Lord, Freshman, Boston Conservatory

Extraordinary Girl: Marielle Burt, Freshman, Brown University

Ensemble

Nikki Amico, Freshman, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

Marcia Cunning, Freshman, Virginia Commonwealth University

Emma Gold, Freshman, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

Leo Grandinetti, Freshman, Columbia College

Jamie Green, Sophomore, Marymount Manhattan College

Abby Huston, Freshman, Virginia Commonwealth University

Christophe Jelinski, Senior, McLean High School

Tyler King, Senior, Lake Braddock Secondary School

Erik McIntosh, Senior, Oakton High School

Kathy Oh, Sophomore, Virginia Commonwealth University

Kyra Smith, Freshman, Point Park University

Scenic Technicians

Ben French, Freshman, DePaul University

Joe Miller, Freshman, George Mason University

Lighting Technicians

Ian Jacknow, Freshman, McLean High School

Jared Jacknow, Junior, McLean High School

Sound Technician

Max Speil, Freshman, Case Western Reserve University

Costume Technicians

Kim Allen-Mills, LBTC

Juliana Cofrancesco, LBTC

Yvonne French, LBTC

Ellie Hall, Sophomore, McLean High School

Camille Richter, Sophomore, McLean High School

Lisa Richter, LBTC

Sydney Studds, LBTC

Gillian Wright, Senior, McLean High School

Make-up and Hair

Sydney Studds, LBTC

Props Technicians

Camille Calderon, Freshman, Emerson University

Havi Carrillo-Klein, Sophomore, McLean High School

Projection Design

Kate Callahan, Freshman, George Mason University

Riki Kim, Synetic Theatre