“American Idiot” tonight at the Winspear

Three’s company

Direct from Broadway, the smash-hit musical American Idiot tells the story of three lifelong friends, forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia. Their quest for true meaning in a post 9/11 world leads them on the most exhilarating theatrical journey of the season.

Based on Green Day’s Grammy-winning multi-platinum album, American Idiot boldly takes the American musical where it’s never gone before. The result is an experience Charles Isherwood of The New York Times declares “thrilling, emotionally charged, and as moving as any Broadway musical I’ve seen this year!”

— ATTPAC.com

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Through May 20. ATTPAC.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Applause: Broadgay at Winspear

Lexus series adds queer event to upcoming season of musicals

What’s gay about ‘Jersey Boys’? The GLBT Broadway subscriber series at the Winspear will tell you.

The Lexus Broadway Series offers a muscular lineup of shows that feature classic stories and contemporary rock ‘n’ roll. But they go one step further in the 2011-12 season with the stage equivalent of special edition DVDs, featuring enhanced performances and pre-show engagements for subscribers — including its gay patrons.

Dallas Voice Life+Style Editor Arnold Wayne Jones will host a conversation every second-week Tuesday about 45 minutes before each show. The series, called GLBT Broadway, will highlight the appeal for queer audiences for the shows in the series. The discussion will touch on issues of gender identity and sexuality in regards to the show and the teams behind them. Some — such as the season lead-off, Hair — might be easier to analyze from a gay perspective than, say, Jersey Boys, but that’s part of the fun of the series.

The season starts with Hair, which won the Tony in 2009 for best musical revival. Youth in 1960s America are all about peace, love and understanding — including nudity and homosexuality — in this iconic musical. Sept. 20–Oct. 2.

The epic Les Miserables follows with a new 25th anniversary production. Dec. 20–Jan. 1.

Best musical Tony winner In the Heights details the immigrant experience as characters find a new life in their new country. March 13–25.

Alt-rockers Green Day went Broadway with American Idiot, touted as a mashup of a rock concert and staged musical. May 8–20.

The season concludes with Jersey Boys and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Classic hits like “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” tell the tale of this well-accomplished music group from the ‘50s. June 12–July 15.

Other subscriber series include Broadway University, hosted by SMU theater professor Kevin Hofeditz which will explore themes of the show and its place in theater history (every second Saturday matinee) and Broadway Uncorked (every second-week Wednesday), where an expert sommelier will host a wine tasting based on the show. We wonder what American Idiot’s wine will be.

— Rich Lopez

For more information on the Lexus Broadway Series and its enhanced performances, visit ATTPAC.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Despite a couple of setbacks, Twist Dallas pulled off impressive second show

Flash Mob soundchecks before opening the January edition of Twist Dallas.

When I walked into the Lakewood Bar & Grill last night, Twist organizer SuZanne Kimbrell quickly told me that I.L.E. had backed out due to “unforeseen circumstances” and that Junye lost her longtime guitarist just that night. Kimbrell was a little twisted herself, but optimistic about her last minute filler Hannah Lenart. Unforeseen circumstances could mean a lot of things, but seriously, I.L.E., you’re gonna back out the DAY of the show? Especially when you write on your site “we are still waiting for our community to get behind us 100%.” Kinda think that goes both ways.

Alt-punk Denton band Flash Mob opened the show with some decent raucous rock. The two guys (straight), two girls (not) band is still finding its sound, but pulled off similarities to old school Green Day. Despite heading into pop punk territory of Blink 182 and +44, they were on. Loved the guys talking up gay Pride and “don’t ask, don’t tell” even though the singer himself doesn’t want to join the military. Ironic.

TWEET NOTES: Flash Mob opens #TwistDallas w Green Day like energy. #lgbtmusic. Hmmm Liking Flash Mob but kinda delving into +44 territory at #TwistDallas. #lgbtmusic

Read more after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Queer Music News: Melissa Etheridge does Broadway; Elton John shows off new baby

Billboard reports that Melissa Etheridge will step into Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong’s role in the Broadway rock musical American Idiot. The show is based on the band’s landmark album. Armstrong agreed to do the show himself for a run of 50 dates in spurts, but is now taking a small break:

Etheridge, best known for her song “Come to My Window,” will play drug dealer “St. Jimmy” from Feb. 1 to Feb. 6. Armstrong, the composer and co-author of the musical, returns Feb. 10.

The high-octane show follows three working-class characters as they wrestle with modern life. One joins the Army, one becomes a father and one descends into a drug-fueled life – thanks to St. Jimmy.

Says director Michael Mayer: “This character is seductive, thrilling and dangerous. Melissa Etheridge is all that and so much more.”

Elton John and David Furnish grace the cover of Us Weekly showing off their new family pictures. Ain’t that cute?

On the cover of the new issue out Wednesday (Jan. 19), John and Furnish are photographed with their new bundle of joy, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John.

“I’ve never felt anything like it in my life,” says John of holding his son for the first time. “You’re so awestruck. What can you say? You take it in. The feeling, the joy, the warmth of his body, his breathing … I will never forget that experience ever.”

—  Rich Lopez

Concert week continues with Green Day at Superpages

Punks can be gay friendly too

Sixteen years ago, the punk rock trio’s CD Dookie took the music world by storm, reminiscent of the brash Beastie Boys a decade earlier. Since then, they’ve kept a strong edge but matured into one of today’s more important bands.

So what could three punksters from Berkeley have in common with the queer community? A lot.

With their breakthrough, they hit the road with queercore band Pansy Division as the opening act. Despite Division’s newfound exposure, not all fans were fond of the gays. Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong took time to defend the band and at some points, even threatened not to go on if people weren’t giving Division due respect.

Green Day did the ultimate queeny step by turning the landmark 2004 album American Idiot into a Broadway musical. The show ended up with Tony nominations and the punks even performed on the 2010 telecast.

Clearly, Green Day has some good gay mojo.

DEETS: With AFI. SuperPages.com Center, 1818 First Ave. Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. $20–$85. LiveNation.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Pick a show

This week deals out all kinds of live music. But what’s gay about ’em?

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

THREE OF A KIND Green Day, left, Sheryl Crow, center, and Chromeo are just a few of this week’s concert offerings.

As if dueling Billy Idol and Kenny G concerts weren’t enough — not to mention the residual bloodbath therefrom — this week in music is all over the place. From rock turned Broadway punks to a local lesbian favorite, pretty much everything is covered.

Here is some lowdown on this week’s concert calendar and why might the gays head out to see. At the very least, you can imagine any number of combinations of Show vs. Show and determine which would come out on top.

Sheryl Crow

Crow started as a mere rocker chick with a guitar but over the years transformed into one hot cougar. Her gay appeal, though, is rather lacking. She doesn’t offer much drag inspiration in either song or look, despite being gorgeous and fit. Lance Armstrong isn’t a hunky enough lover for the gays to be overly jealous of and she may have some lesbian appeal, but she’s no Melissa.

She has embraced her cougar hotness, though, and at 48, is not afraid to bust out the microminis and show off her toned legs. Still, music is what she does best.

Despite her strong lineup of hits, Crow’s gay scale is average. QQR (Queer Quotient Rating): 50 out of 100.

Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. $38–$78. Ticketmaster.com.

Green Day

Sixteen years ago, the punk rock trio’s CD Dookie took the music world by storm, reminiscent of the brash Beastie Boys a decade earlier. Since then, they’ve kept a strong edge but matured into one of today’s more important bands.

So what could three punksters from Berkeley have in common with the queer community? A lot.

With their breakthrough, they hit the road with queercore band Pansy Division as the opening act. Despite Division’s newfound exposure, not all fans were fond of the gays. Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong took time to defend the band and at some points, even threatened not to go on if people weren’t giving Division due respect.

Green Day did the ultimate queeny step by turning the landmark 2004 album American Idiot into a Broadway musical. The show ended up with Tony nominations and the punks even performed on the 2010 telecast.

Clearly, Green Day has some good gay mojo — and a high QQR: 85.

With AFI. SuperPages.com Center, 1818 First Ave. Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. $20–$85. LiveNation.com.

Chromeo

You might call this electrofunk duo newbies to the music scene, but their 2007 release Fancy Footwork broke the sophomore album curse and put the duo on the music map. Their club-ready sound has been compared to bubbly ’80s pop, most notably Hall and Oates. And yet they make it work. They add a dash of humor to their flow with songs like “Me and My Man” and “Tenderoni.” Their appearance on Darryl Hall’s reality show, Live From Darryl’s House performing “No Can Do” is outstanding.

Not a lotta gay going on, but they’re changing the face of dance music with their electrofunk and remixes of other artists. An average QQR: 65 — but their performance with Hall should win new fans.

With Holy Ghost!, Telephoned. Palladium Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar. Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. $30. ThePalladiumBallroom.com.

Amy Hanaialii Gilliom & Deborah Vial

Deborah Vial used to grace the local scene singing at Sue Ellen’s, but turned in her cowboy boots for grass skirts by relocating to Hawaii in 2004. She’s never forgotten her Dallas roots, though, and comes back often. This time, she’s bringing a friend.

Vial returns with Amy Hanaialii Gilliom, who has been referred to as “the voice of Hawaii” and has snagged four Grammy nominations during her career. The two have teamed up for the road and Vial is figuring Gilliom will be a hit in Dallas — or at the very least, expand audience ears to the islands of Hawaii.

Vial’s presence pretty much puts this show at a perfect QQR: 100.

House of Blues Cambridge Room, 2200 N. Lamar St. Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. $25. HouseOfBlues.com.

Battle of the Bands: The Dyke Clones and Vent

Sigh — where to begin? Open Door Productions usually books an impressive roster of lesbian musicians and comedians. This time, they offer a “Battle of the Bands” and miss the mark all over the place. Despite the title, only two bands are performing and we’re never sure what they are battling for. An audience, perhaps?

They don’t win any favor with the Dyke Clones write up. “An absolutely funny group of gals who not only lip-sync the words but also finger-sync the instruments. We’ll just describe them as musical drag queens.” Despite Open Door’s enthusiasm, this has about as much musical appeal as the Church of Christ. They are followed up by Vent, who covers the likes of Ani DiFranco and Katy Perry.  If you’re yawning by this point, you’re not alone.

For its support of lesbian talent, Open Door gets a good QQR 100 — but the show itself tanks.

Heart and Soul Coffeehouse, 4615 E. California Parkway, Fort Worth. Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m. $7.50. OpenDoorProductionsTX.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Tony Awards recap

Sean Hayes both hosted the Tony Awards Sunday night and was a nominee for his performance in “Promises, Promises,” but he also was a sassy lightning rod for politics. Hayes made the least news ever last March when, just before his Broadway debut opened, he officially came out as gay. (In other news, the sun set last night.)

Hayes was then the target of a weird thinkpiece in Newsweek (by a gay author, no less!) who claimed that when gay actors come out, they ruin the illusion that they could be straight for audiences; Hayes was singled out as not convincingly playing a hetero man in the musical. His co-star, Kristin Chenoweth — who also has appeared on “Glee,” another target of the article — was vocal in her disdain for the piece.

Without addressing the article directly, Hayes began his hosting duties with a Tipper-and-Al-style prolonged lip-lock with Chenoweth that seemed to establish, for home audiences, that kisses look real when the actors are good. Despite my criticism of the cast recording, these actors are good.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Grammys Live Blog: Chris O'Donnell is hot, Leon Russell jams a cameo

Best Rock Album: Green Day. OK, their Grammy darlings now but I can roll with this a lot more than if Dave Matthews won.

Ummm, hellooo Chris O’Donnell.

The Zac Brown Band just went up in my book bringing in Leon Russell. But really, I’d like to see a ZZ Topp/Russell collab. Beards for days. ZBB is doing the whole America thing but lines about chicken fried and cold beer are all right with me. OK, Zac Brown’s acoustic shredding is pretty solid and I think he’s just gone up in my hottie bear column.

Upcoming, Carrie Underwood honors…Michael Jackson?

—  Rich Lopez