Basti Artadi to blast his way back to musical theater in ‘American Idiot’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

AMERICAN Idiot,” the critically acclaimed punk rock musical based on Green Day’s rock opera of the same name, is all about celebrating people’s differences, which means turning convention upside down. But, as written by Michael Mayer and Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, this coming-of-age sense of defiance rages not just against suffocating tradition, but against one’s inner demons.

It’s like every piece in the material is saying find your soul, hold your place in the sun, and don’t give in no matter what. It’s a message that the young in every generation can identify with—and will resonate with the mold-breaking, cause-oriented millennials of today.

That celebration of difference aptly seems to mark as well the Manila production of the Broadway musical being mounted by 9 Works Theatrical in partnership with Globe Telecom. The most immediate indication of its bent to try something different this time is in the diversity of its cast for “American Idiot”: a mixture of popular concert artists, rock stars and tried-and-tested musical theater talents.

Rock icon

At the center is Wolfgang lead singer Basti Artadi, who plays the group’s gutsy leader St. Jimmy. An icon in the rock scene, Artadi has headlined musical theater productions before, most notably Atlantis Productions’ “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Other famous faces from the rock circuit include Jason Fernandez, former Rivermaya front man and a finalist in “The Voice of the Philippines” Season 2; Miggy Chavez, lead vocalist of Chicosci; and Norby David, formerly also of Rivermaya.

From the musical theater camp come seasoned hands Nel Gomez (“Grease,” “Shrek The Musical”), Yanah Laurel (“Spring Awakening,” “Rizal X”) and Alex Godinez (“Grease,” “High School Musical”), among others.

Peer a bit more closely and you’ll also spot GMA-7 artist Kai Atienza, Euro Pop Berliner finalist Gian Gloria and “Miss Saigon” alumni Ela Lisondra and Ariel Reonal.

“The show is a rock opera, so we really aimed to mix rock stars with experienced thespians,” says 9 Works executive producer Santi Santamaria. He recalls the rock performers making their first foray into musical theater: “We are confident that you can do this because the characters you are playing come from your world. Your characters are you. You don’t have to act it.”

Director Robbie Guevara gives Artadi as an example: “St. Jimmy, his character, is a badass. He is this big influence that everybody is looking up to. It’s the same thing with Basti. He’s more senior than anybody else. Whatever he says, the other younger artists will follow. They worship him. It has happened in rehearsals—they follow him the way their characters follow St. Jimmy onstage.”

Guevara and Santamaria believe “American Idiot” will be able to reach an audience beyond the usual theater viewers. Aside from its contemporary narrative and hip performers, the venue may also help: The show will open at the new Globe Iconic Store at the Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater. Paying audiences will find themselves seated in a 600-seater open-air amphitheater overlooking the Globe Iconic store’s two units that are connected by a bridge, which can also be used for a theater production.

Build an audience

Think “Shakespeare at the Park”—or, closer to home, “Concert at the Park”—for nonmillennials who can remember symphonic orchestras and the occasional “sarsuwela” excerpt played against an open-air backdrop in Intramuros. But this time, the thrust is to lure in a young theater audience, beginning with a musical that can also double as a rock concert.

“To build the theater audience—that is the main thrust of our partnership with Globe,” says Santamaria, who hints that 9 Works will have more coproductions with the telecom company throughout the year.

“‘American Idiot’ will bring in audiences who have not seen the musical, and hopefully will like it enough to watch other musical productions. Because of the venue, the show might look like a concert—but it is really theater. It has a story that moves forward.”

With an open-air auditorium that will showcase the power of live performance among newbie theater audiences, and an out-of-the-box rock opera performed by an eclectic cast, Guevara is confident that “American Idiot” will hit its mark—and will be only the first of many substantial collaborations with Globe.

9 Works Theatrical and Globe Telecom’s “American Idiot” runs June 24-July 10, at Globe Iconic Store, Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater, BGC, Taguig City. Call 5867105, 0917-5545560, 891-9999, email or visit

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