Friday, June 22, 2012

John Gallagher Jr: King of Theater Angst Moves to HBO's The Newsroom

I'm diverging a bit today to talk about one of my favorite things: the THEATER. You know - that place where the angsty boys are actually live, living actual boys performing RIGHT in front of you. I love that. I write this post with the full expectation that only a small subset of angst lovers will have any clue what I'm taking about. But trust me - theater angst is some of the BEST angst.  

Two of the most angst ridden shows of recent years are Spring Awakening and American Idiot, both deliciously lead by uber talented Tony winner John Gallagher Jr. It's not much of a shocker that these two shows had a lot of crossover audience-wise. 

John Gallagher Jr. as Johnny in Green Day American Idiot
Why am I doing this post now? Because John Gallagher Jr. is a big part of the buzzy new HBO show The Newsroom, created by Aaron Sorkin (a.k.a. television writing God.) The Newsroom is basically a perfect storm of awesome - and before JGalls goes off and gets famo - I want to celebrate his angsty stage ways.

John Gallagher Jr. as Johnny and Tony Vincent as St. Jimmy in Green Day American Idiot
In American Idiot, he plays Johnny, a do-nothing burnout type living in suburbia who decides to move to the big city. When he gets there, he meets a girl, gets addicted to drugs, goes a little nuts, and exhibits oodles of angst.

John Gallagher Jr. as Johnny and Rebecca Naomi Jones as Whatsername in Green Day American Idiot
Not only is there angst everywhere, but there is also much guitar playing. It's cliche for a reason - girls love a boy with a guitar.

John Gallagher Jr. as Johnny in Green Day American Idiot
It's a great show. And Johnny isn't the only angsty character - although he tends to be played by the hottest actor. (I invite all you Esper people to make your case.) One of my personal favorite scenes is the one in which Johnny has a drug induced paranoia attack and flips out at his girl. Ya'll know the Green Day song Know Your Enemy? Yeah - it's that one.

John Gallagher Jr. as Johnny and Rebecca Naomi Jones as Whatsername in Green Day American Idiot
And then his gal sings 21 Guns while rubbing his back as he lies there unconscious. She tries to help him out, but he's not yet ready to amend his wasted ways. He basically tells her and her awesome pink boots to go screw. Saddness.

John Gallagher Jr. as Johnny and Rebecca Naomi Jones as Whatsername in Green Day American Idiot
Then he realizes what a loser he is and he returns home, leaving the city, the girl, and the drugs behind.

John Gallagher Jr. as Johnny in Green Day American Idiot
John Gallagher Jr. as Johnny in Green Day American Idiot
The tour is currently in San Francisco - if you're anywhere close I suggest you check it out. And there'll be a U.K. and Ireland production in the autumn. Info here.

And now a moment for Spring Awakening.  First of all - it works better in motion then in screen caps. So I present the 'official' Bitch of Living music video:


I'm going to go all spoiler on you now - but Spring Awakening featured the suicide of poor unloved Moritz. Night after night, his dad told him he was a disgrace and Mortiz ate a bullet. There were several awesome Mortizes (JGalls was first) but in the U.K. Mortiz was none other than Iwan Rheon - angsty Simon from Misfits (which I'm going to get back to next week btw). Clearly, there's just one angsty actor pool from which all the best roles are cast.

I hope there's some angst ahead for Jim Harper on The Newsroom because I'd love to talk forever and ever about John Gallagher Jr. Only time will tell. I mean - at least once, he'll look like this:

John Gallagher Jr. as Jim Harper in The Newsroom on HBO
Promising, no?

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