The first thing I noticed about Jenna Rubaii, even through the phone, is her enthusiasm and energy. Jenna comes to San Diego as “The Extraordinary Girl” in “American Idiot” playing at the San Diego Civic Theatre. Playing through June 2nd, this show explores the choices three friends make as they try to find meaning in post 9-11 America.
Rubaii has the interestingly named part of “Extraordinary Girl” in this show. This character, with no name, and later entrance in the show is sure to catch your eye. She’s the one that flies through the air. Without giving away the plot she says “He (Tunny) hallucinates about me in an aerial ballet of sorts, and in this hallucination I become a I dream of Jeanie and Arabian nights angel, of sort.”
Jenna starting performing at age six, when she joined an all girls song and dance group in Tampa Fl. She performed in that all through high school and in high school is where she really discovered musical theatre. After studying musical theatre at the
University of Miami for college, she graduated and then the opportunity for “American Idiot” came along.
But how does someone, fresh out of school, prepare for an audition for one of the biggest shows on Broadway, based on one of the most popular albums from Green Day, one of the most popular bands of all time?
“The show is almost all musical, and I have always been influenced by pop rock music anyways. So I figure out what genre its in and pay attention to the genre and pick a song that hints at that.”, Rubaii says. “I love this show. I saw it on Broadway and I was obsessed with it and being in it.”
Having made it’s world premiere at the Berkley Repertory Theatre, “American Idiot” is not the typical show to come to and from Broadway. This show zeroes in on a younger generation in the media saturated post 9-11 America. Dealing with disaffected youth, sex, drugs and rock n roll, and with music by Green Day, Rubaii feels this is a show everyone should see.
“I think it’s incredible. For the non musical theatre people out there, its an amazing show. It gets the younger generations and people that would usually say ‘ I don’t know about musical theater.’ It really opens this door for musicals to people that wouldn’t usually go see it,” Rubaii says. “ We do what we do to tell a story to people, and the story that we tell, is so relatable. This world is so media saturated and the same things are all on TV,. The disgusting images, every channel showing the same thing over and over again, and people want to get away from it. Angry America! It’s really relatable now and everything happening now really feels connected to the show.”
More than just the show, Jenna is animated about touring and experiencing those cities first hand as well. “I think it’s really awesome to go to the different cities. First of all, I love seeing different theatres. It’s just really cool to see them and how they are laid out. Some are really beautiful and some a really old and historic, but I also love seeing all the different cities because not every job allows you to visit all of these places that I normally don’t get to visit. So it is fun to say that we’ve been there and can say we’ve seen the city.”
Clearly Jenna throws herself into everything with her whole focus, excitement and energy. I’m not sure that “Extraordinary Girl” is less a character name and more a description of Jenna herself.
“American Idiot” is playing at the San Diego Civic Theatre until Sunday, June 2nd. For show times and ticket information go to www.Broadwaysd.com.
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