Clark Collis
April 03, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

There are plenty of peculiar musicals, from Cats (singing felines!) to Spamalot (dancing knights!). But a musical based on Green Day’s multiplatinum-selling 2004 punk-rock concept album American Idiot? Now, that really sounds nuts. Unless you ask Billie Joe Armstrong. ”I heard a lot of show tunes when I was a kid,” says the band’s frontman, ”and I guess that has been an influence on me.” Those (previously undetectable) influences will be on display this September, when California’s Berkeley Repertory Theatre premieres a stage production based on the trio’s album about coming of age in post-9/11 America. The production is being directed by Michael Mayer, who won a Tony for overseeing the Broadway musical Spring Awakening and who is also a longtime Green Day fan. ”I listened to the album and immediately it struck me that this was an amazing narrative,” says Mayer, who adds that there’s ”no reason” it couldn’t go on to rock Broadway. Both Mayer and Armstrong are keeping quiet on the exact details of the musical’s plot, but the Green Day singer promises it will have a ”street mentality.” Armstrong says the show features choreography but not ”’dancing’ dancing. It’s got physical and violent moves. I don’t know how to really explain it, but it’s not like The Lion King.”

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