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If you are of a certain age, you may recall putting on some punk rock music and repeatedly (and quite violently) tossing your head back and forth to the beats. If that is the case, or even if it isn't (I could never master the punk rock head-toss), you will get a real kick out of American Idiot, a brand new musical which is based around the music of one of the most famous punk rock bands of the 20th century, Green Day. Boosting the prestige of this show is a performer who also has a musical background: Amelia Lily, who has released several singles since her successful run on The X-Factor in 2011. We wanted to know more about the show and about her too, so we spoke to Amelia about American Idiot, her career so far and why she's living the dream right now ...
First of all, tell us about the show American Idiot.
American Idiot is written based on the self-titled album by the American band Green Day, and has been transformed into a musical. It's about three guys: one of them goes off to the army, one of them moves off to the city and becomes heavily involved with drugs, and the other guy stays at home with his pregnant girlfriend; and they all go on their own separate journeys to find meaning.
Were you a fan of Green Day before being offered a part in this show?
Yes, absolutely! I wasn't a die-hard fan, but I knew all of their songs and stuff. I was very young when Green Day were at the peak point of their careers. Obviously, as I still knew their songs, I was looking forward to getting involved with a show that requires singing these huge hits every day. But funnily enough, my boyfriend (Steve Rushton), who is also in the show (as Will), is the biggest Green Day fan, so I've learned a lot about the band from him, which is a really nice bonus.
Can you tell us about your character in the show (whose name is actually Whatsername)?
Yeah, so I play a character called Whatsername. She is a city girl, she's very independent, and she falls in love with Johnny (the main guy who Newton Faulkner plays), and you see their romance blossoming throughout the show. They go through some quite intense scenes together, so it's definitely an emotional roller-coaster for me throughout the show in terms of acting, but she's such a fun character to play and she sings some epic songs as well.
Moving onto your own career: how did it feel when you made it all the way to third place on The X-Factor in 2011, and how did you cope with the pressure of the show as it reached the final stages?
The X-Factor feels like such a long time ago now, almost like it never happened; it doesn't feel real. But I was very young on The X-Factor, and I think my adrenaline got me through it. I knew why I was there, and that I wanted to get to the final and do well, and that's kind of what drove me. Of course, I was absolutely petrified, but I definitely think that the adrenaline got me through it.
Based on this experience, was it a dream come true when you began releasing your own singles, such as You Bring Me Joy (released in 2012)?
Yeah, absolutely. It was something that I'd always wanted to do, as with theatre; theatre is something that I've always wanted to do and planned on doing since I was ten-years-old. So, to be able to do both, and I'm still only 21; I consider myself to be extremely lucky.
So, what led you down the path to truly pursue theatre and perform on the stage full-time?
Basically, I got a phone call last year, asking if I would like to play the narrator in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on tour, which went really well. Then, after that, I got a call towards the end of last year asking me about a new show being made about Green Day, and they said they'd like me to get involved. It sounded really good, so I agreed to it and it just went from there, really. And now I'm on tour with the cast until July, which is really exciting!
Finally, what can the Liverpool audience expect from American Idiot?
Just expect an unforgettable experience, as it's totally different to any musical that's out there. We're getting standard ovations every night, so I think that says it all. It's something completely different and unique, and of course it's got Green Day's biggest hits. It's exciting, it's emotional - it's a great show to be a part of, and so many audience members have told us that it's a great show to watch as well.
American Idiot plays the Liverpool Empire from Tuesday June 21 to Saturday June 25. To book your tickets, click here.
For more information about American Idiot, click here.