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July 13, 2014, 5:20 pm

Cherry Hill actress stars in ‘American Idiot’

“American Idiot,” a 2010 Grammy Award winner for Best Musical Show Album featuring the music of Green Day, makes its Philadelphia premiere Feb. 12-17 at the Merriam Theater.

Winner of two Tony Awards, “American Idiot” is the story of three boyhood friends, each searching for meaning in a post 9-11 world.

“Since its inception, audiences have been surprised by the emotional journey the show takes them on, told almost exclusively through Green Day’s songs, including many they are already familiar with and love,” said Tom Hulce, producer. “This is such a potent time for our country and the search of our characters for what we believe in is gorgeously celebrated through Bill Joe Armstrong [lead singer] and Green Day’s wonderful fully lush score,” he added.

The musical features the hits “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “21 Guns,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” and more including the blockbuster title track “American Idiot” from Green’s multi platinum 2004 album.

Appearing in the show is Cherry Hill’s singer/actress Aurie Ceylon, who sings the featured song, “Too Much Too Soon,” in every performance. The Howard University graduate also understudies both female leads. Just 22-years-old, this is her first big break in show business — and it took her a full year to get the role.

“A friend of mine saw the show on Broadway and thought I’d be really good in it,” said Ceylon. “I had never seen it but I took his word for it. So when I heard they were doing auditions, I traveled all day long just to get to the audition and try out.”

But that was even harder than she thought it would be.

“First of all they auditioned the equity players first. And since I was non-equity, I was one of the last to try out,” she said. “Then, I had about 10 to 12 call-backs while they were deciding who would have the role.”

And after nearly a year, she was awarded the part.

“I think other would-be performers should realize it can take that long to get a role,” said Ceylon. “They have to realize this is a long-term auditioning process so they should stay positive. You have to stay optimistic and hope they’ll eventually call. The did call me and so here I am today.”

Ceylon is proud of the work she does in the show, proud of the song she sings, and very happy to have filled in for the lead five times since she started in the show.

“It seems so amazing to me that all this has happened to me shortly after I graduated from college. I never thought it would happen so fast,” she said.

But it did and here she is enjoying every moment of it.

“I’m working with an amazing cast, mostly in their 20s, who can truly represent the post 9-11 generation,” she said. “It’s an electrifying thrill I feel on stage just working with them. It’s a young cast of very talented people.”

Ceylon feels that although she’s very fortunate to have gotten this role, there is still a lot of ground to cover for African American performers.

“I feel most of us are pigeon-holed, although not so much in this show,” said Ceylon. “I feel I’m sort of in-between because of the way I look and a lot of casting directors still don’t know where to do with me. It’s much more comfortable for me and others with the new crop of musicals that are coming along.”

So she just keeps giving it her all and advises others to do the same.

“You’re not going to book everything every time you try out,” she said. “But eventually someone, somewhere will see you and want to give you a part. I believe that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. So stay prepared.”

For times and ticket information call (215) 893-1999.