Jared Young, a Provo, Utah, native, left Brigham Young University in 2010 during his senior year and moved to New York City to pursue his goal of becoming an actor. Upon settling in, he says he saw 10 Broadway shows in succession. One of them was “American Idiot,” and once Young saw it he says, “I knew I just needed to be a part of it because it was just like something I had never seen before.” Fortunately, Young’s fondest wish became a reality in May 2012, when he joined the cast of the national tour of “American Idiot” as a member of the ensemble and in the role of Favorite Son.
Tuesday, April 2 through Sunday, April 7, Young and his cast mates can be seen in Indianapolis, when “American Idiot” is presented by Broadway in Indianapolis at Clowes Memorial Hall on the campus of Butler University.
The rock musical, which the New York Times called “wonderfully raucous” and “emotionally charged,” tells the story of Johnny, Willy and Tunny. They are childhood friends who undergo an emotional journey, as told through the music of the punk rock group, Green Day, to find the meaning of life.
The show features the hits “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “21 Guns,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “Holiday” and the title track “American Idiot” from Green Day’s 2004 album. Also included in the score are several songs from Green Day’s 2009 release “21st Century Breakdown” and an unreleased love song called “When It’s Time.”
Young, who had just arrived with the company for the show’s two-day run in Cedar Falls, Iowa, spoke by phone with tapeunit.com recently. He says the tour, which started last fall in the U.K. and in Ireland, began its 25-city U.S. leg in February: “We usually do one week runs — probably like 10. We’ve been in the Northeast and now we are just barely starting to get over to the Midwest. We play Nebraska next and Chicago and Wisconsin, and then we head back East to do Baltimore and Florida. We get a break in May for a week, and then it shifts over to the West Coast and we do San Diego and San Jose before ending in Vegas.
“I was more aiming toward becoming a recording artist, and that’s why I was in a boy band (T-minus Friday) in high school. I always focused on being in the recording industry, and that’s still my true passion and I’m lucky. The musical theater world is going in a more rock direction, and I get the best of both worlds. I get to stay true to my true passion of rock music, but also get to perform on the stage,” says Young, who studied contemporary voice and media music while at BYU.
Prior to landing his gig in “American Idiot,” Young says he experienced the typical challenges experienced by many just starting out in NYC: “I definitely struggled. I didn’t go to school for acting. I went to music school, so it was different coming to the city and being in these audition circles with these talented, trained actors. I went to school as a vocalist, and so I enrolled myself in an acting program in a studio and I took classes as much as I could. So a lot of my time in New York was spent auditioning and going to class.”
It was an investment of his time that Young says he was glad he made, though, because he says it has obviously paid off: “This has been a long time coming. I am really excited to finally book a real big gig.”
Young’s big moment comes in the show when his character, during a commercial, jumps out of a television set as a male stripper, prior to transforming into an Army recruiter in a number called “Favorite Son.” He says it’s tough maintaining the buff body his part requires because he has to try and eat healthy and work out when he’s on the road.
However, Young’s not complaining because he says he loves to travel (it’s a bus-and-truck tour, and plane flights are taken when necessary), and because he has really bonded with his cast mates, most of whom, the 28-year-old says, are 20-23 years old: “It’s a smaller cast of 10 men and nine women. There aren’t that many conflicts, and I’ve found some good lifelong friends among a really great cast,” says Young.
Young says that he hopes to eventually return to NYC and “try to conquer the Great White Way,” but in the meantime he plans to see more of the world: “My contract goes until July — until Vegas, when we close the tour — but we were just offered the Asia premiere, so I’ll be sticking around for Japan and South Korea and that lasts until September. That was a major selling point for me because of my love of travel.”
While in Indianapolis — where he has never been previously — Young says he hopes to take in local sights: “Our company manager gives us information about each town, such as what’s near and the fun things you can do. We don’t get that much time off, but I try to see what’s cool about each city we visit. We were just in Hartford, Conn., and I saw the Mark Twain House where he wrote ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.’ It was really cool to get a tour. Every town has something interesting that I try to see.”
As far as what Indianapolis audiences can expect when they see “American Idiot,” Young says: “They can expect something they’ve never seen before — rock music at its best, on stage with a great story. The production quality is like what you have never seen. Our set won the Tony Award, our lighting won the Tony Award and the music just blows you away.”
Tickets and information about “American Idiot” are available in person at the Broadway Across America Box Office downtown at 342 Massachusetts Avenue, Clowes Memorial Hall, The Old National Centre Ticket Office, online at BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com, or by phone at 1-800-982-2787.
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