You'll have to excuse audience members at the Ahmanson Theatre on Sunday night for doing a double-take at the guests in seats K19 and 20. After all, the musical "Next to Normal," about a clinically depressed, bipolar woman (played by Tony Award-winner Alice Ripley) and her family, is probably the last place people would expect to see the lead vocalist for the rock band Green Day.
But sure enough, there was Billie Joe Armstrong, sans mascara, with his wife, Adrienne, in the center orchestra section for opening night of the Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical.
The connection? "Next to Normal" composer and co-orchestrator Tom Kitt also served as music supervisor for Green Day's Broadway musical "American Idiot."
A few rows up from Armstrong sat the always-dapper Pierce Brosnan and wife Keely Shaye Smith, seeing the musical for the first time. His "Mamma Mia!" costar Amanda Seyfried also was in attendance.
Sarah Silverman greeted Camryn Manheim with a big hug as she made her way to her seat a few minutes before the lights went down. “Glee” was represented by Jenna Ushkowitz, Darren Criss and the guys who play the Dalton Academy Warblers. And "Modern Family's" Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who is lobbying to host the Tony Awards, and fellow castmate Sarah Hyland took in the show.
Also spotted were Jena Malone, Adam Brody, “Chuck” regular Vik Sahay, Chad Lowe, David St. Louis, Peter MacNicol, Broadway star Adam Pascal, screenwriter Diablo Cody, Tracie Thoms, Charlayne Woodard, Alec Mapa, Ken Page and Lorene Scafaria, as well as members of the "Next to Normal" creative team, director Michael Greif, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics).
"Next to Normal" runs through Jan. 2 at the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown L.A.
-- Lisa Fung
Top photo: "Next to Normal" composer Tom Kitt, left, with Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. Credit: Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging