The 5 Question Challenge with “American Idiot: The Musical’s” Turner Rouse, Jr.

"Green Day's American Idiot! The Musical" will be in Kansas City this weekend. (Logo courtesy of the Theatre League of Kansas City)

“Green Day’s American Idiot! The Musical” will be in Kansas City this weekend. (Logo courtesy of the Theater League of Kansas City)

By: Jacob Elyachar,

Green Day’s high octane musical, American Idiot, is currently touring the country!

The one-act musical focuses on the adventures of three men: Johnny, Will and Tunny, who flee suburbia and encounter difficult situations along the way.

American Idiot will be performing three shows at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts this weekend.

Ensemble member and actor Turner Rouse, Jr. took time out of his busy schedule to take The Five Question Challenge.  This will be the second year that Turner has worked with the American Idiot: the Musical touring production.  In addition to his work with American Idiot,  he is also a photographer and songwriter/producer under the alias Logical Confusion.

In this edition, Turner talked about his role in the show and what musical numbers challenged him to think outside of the box.

Jacob Elyachar: What attracted you to the theatre world?

Turner Rouse, Jr: I was always a “ham” growing up, and the theatre world gave me an opportunity to be goofy and myself without being scolded for being “rambunctious.”

JE: What are some of the similarities and differences between “American Idiot” and the previous theatrical productions that you have worked on?

TRJ: I was in a production of Hair in college, and AI is similar not only because of its adult content but because it makes its audience think. There is a strong political viewpoint in Idiot bringing up heavy life issues- it’s not your “happy-go-lucky” musical.

JE: Could you please describe your role in the production to my readers?

TRJ: I am in the ensemble. At times, I am just another one of the teenagers, stuck in this cycle hanging out at the 7-Eleven.  But, I am also a figment of Johnny’s imagination during certain times in the show.

JE: What were some of the production numbers that challenged you to think outside the box as a performer?

TRJ: The amazing thing is that even after a year-and-a-half that I have been with this show, it still makes me think outside the box. The choreography by Steven Hoggett really allows us to dig into the emotion that Green Day created when they wrote this album.  In “Jesus of Suburbia,” we are the kids hanging out in this town going nowhere.  There is a movement where we are all pulled back into this “rut”, and then we steady ourselves to get back up on our feet. Though the movements in this show can be very pedestrian, they bring up so many deeper ideas through just a simple gesture.

JE: If you had the chance to meet with audience members who are about to see the show, what advice would you share with them in preparing to watch the production?

TRJ: I would say “use the bathroom” before the show, and try not to get caught up in the little interactions. Part of the thing that’s so awesome about this show is those intricate details, but I would suggest for them to look at the big picture of it all. Sometimes it’s hard, because there’s just SO MUCH going on onstage at all times, not to mention the 36 TVs onstage flashing different images throughout every number, but I think it would be helpful to try to focus on the story.

To learn more about “American Idiot: The Musical,” visit their show’s website:

To buy tickets for the Kansas City shows, visit the Theater League of Kansas City website.


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