On the title track to Green Day's 2004 album Billie Joe Armstrong repeats the line, "Don't wanna be an American idiot," yet the frontman can't resist playing the part for Broadway audiences. As the Tony-Award-winning adaptation of 'American Idiot' prepares to go dark later this month in New York City, Armstrong is back to reprise his role as St. Jimmy, the drug-peddling alter ego of the show's protagonist. In honour of his foray into musical theater, Spinner offers up this list of five musicians who've walked the boards.
'Peaches Christ Superstar'
When Canadian electro-provocateur Peaches announced plans to stage a one-woman adaptation of 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' purists had a panic attack. Up-in-arms rights holders even aimed to stop the production until lyricist Tim Rice gave his blessing, with 'Peaches Christ Superstar' going on to run in Berlin and select North American cities. And despite her critics' worst fears and to the disappointment of some of her fans, Peaches played it straight, approaching the roles of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and the disciples with the reverence of a life-long fan.
Watch Peaches in 'Peaches Christ Superstar'
'The Elephant Man'
Long before he fronted the Spiders From Mars, the Thin White Duke studied avant-garde theatre under noteworthy British dancer, actor, mime artist and choreographer Lindsay Kemp. In 1967, Bowie made his theatrical debut as a singing clown in Kemp's 'Pierrot in Turquoise,' but established himself as a serious actor in 1980, when, without the aid of makeup or prosthesis (and in spite of his dashing good looks), Bowie transformed himself into Joseph Merrick to play the severely deformed man in the Broadway play 'The Elephant Man.'
Listen to David Bowie's Performance in 'The Elephant Man'
'The Phantom of the Opera'
It's only fitting that a guy who debuted as an actor in the schlocky 'Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park' would later land the lead role in the Toronto production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'The Phantom of the Opera.' Despite great reviews, Stanley swore off a promising career in musical theater. Apparently, playing tunes with rock 'n' roll's shrewdest accountant, Gene Simmons, and a couple of hired guns dressed to look like the members of Kiss' original lineup proved too lucrative.
Watch Paul Stanley's Performance in 'The Phantom of the Opera'
'Jekyll & Hyde'
In 2000, former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach injected a new level of sleaze into Manhattan's glitziest strip when he adopted the leading role in Broadway's 'Jekyll & Hyde.' Bach might have received warm reviews but the rocker eventually became bored with the blue-haired groupies who congregated outside of his dressing room. In an interesting twist, Bach handed the role off to former 'Baywatch' star David Hasselhoff.
Watch Sebastian Bach's Performance in 'Jekyll & Hyde'
'The Rocky Horror Show'
Meat Loaf became a bona fide star when he appeared as Eddie in 1974's 'The Rocky Horror Show,' a role he later revised in the cult film adaptation. As a recording artist, he combined the campy qualities of musical theater with the hooks and melodies of '50s rock 'n' roll -- a recipe perfected on 1977's 'Bat Out Of Hell.' These days, Meat Loaf is trying to avoid being fired on the reality TV show 'The Celebrity Apprentice.' But with rock 'n' roll musicals like 'We Will Rock You' and 'American Idiot' cashing in, theater-goers might soon be treated to 'Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical.'
Watch Meat Loaf's Performance in 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'