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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

“American Idiot” lead actors take center stage against conformity

Two talented theater students are set to take center stage to let their passionate voices be heard in the Fullerton College Theatre Arts Department’s production of “American Idiot”.

Brandon Burns and Tony Torrico will portray Will and Johnny, two of the main characters from the show.

Tony and Brandon
Tony Torrico (left) and Brandon Burns (right) will portray two of the main characters, Johnny and Will, in the edgy and politically relevant production of “American Idiot” running March 9-11. Photo credit: Lann Nguyen

Burns is in his fourth semester at Fullerton College. He hopes to begin the transfer process next year and plans on auditioning for programs that he knows that will challenge him while he earns a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

He recently joined the Fancy Hobo Improv, a musical comedy improv group that Torrico is also a member of. Burns realized that it was his dream to become a theater actor after he began taking classes and participating in the musical “parade” last year at Fullerton College

“Through that show and telling a beautiful story through my character, I opened my eyes to what acting really was,” Burns explained. “I discovered the need to be honest on stage, and tell my truth as an artist and as a person. I discovered that this is all I can do.”

Torrico is in his fifth semester and has been accepted to the California Institute of the Arts. He’s still waiting to hear back from New York University (NYU), his dream school. He is the lead singer of a rock band called Feste, which will be providing some of the music for the production of “American Idiot”.

Torrico knew he would pursue a career as a theater actor when he was working on a production of the musical “NINE”.

Brandon Burns gets into the punk-rock spirit in front of the Fullerton Campus Theatre. Photo credit: Lann Nguyen

“It was just so incredible and emotional, so exhausting and so worth it. Especially when I knew what I was doing on stage was quality work,” Torrico said, “There was a moment that I thought ‘I want to do this’.”

Torrico and Burns both agree that “American Idiot” has been one of their favorite productions to work on, and they both have similar methods of getting into character.

“I like to take a few hours before the show and listen to a specialized playlist of music I’ve made based on what my character might listen to and I take the time to get into character with mental and physical warmups,” Burns explained.

Torrico added that he really connects with Johnny, so it doesn’t take him too long to get into his character.

Tony Torrico strikes a “Jesus of Suburbia” pose in front of the Fullerton Campus Theatre. Photo credit: Lann Nguyen

“American Idiot” is a politically charged show and the actors aren’t shying away from making a statement.

“As an actor, every time you hit the stage it’s a political statement,” Torrico said. “With the way this show is, we’re going to have people walk out and if they don’t, we’re not doing our job. The purpose of art is not always to be pretty, or to be happy, or to make you feel good – it’s to make you think.”

“Our generation is told that our voices are inappropriate. That they don’t make sense and that we’re just shouting into thin air,” Burns added. “Now 20 people in our cast have the chance to stand on this stage and make people listen.”

Tickets are available at the Campus Theatre box office for $12.50. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $15.

“American Idiot” runs from March 9-11 at 7 p.m. at the Fullerton College Campus Theatre.

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