Sam Lavery brings the X Factor to Sheffield in Green Day rock musical American Idiot

X Factor star Sam Lavery is taking on a new challenge – making her stage debut in the musical based on the songs of star US rockers Green Day.

Monday, 18th March 2019, 7:12 pm
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 7:18 pm
Sam Lavery, right, as Whatsername with Tom Milner as Johnny and Luke Friend as St Jimmy in the 2019 UK touring production of American Idiot
Sam Lavery, right, as Whatsername with Tom Milner as Johnny and Luke Friend as St Jimmy in the 2019 UK touring production of American Idiot

Aged only 19, the Durham-born singer who took part in the TV talent show two years ago plays the role of Whatsername in the show, based on the iconic Green Day concept album American Idiot, which was released 15 years ago.

American Idiot is the story of three boyhood friends, each searching for meaning in a post-9/11 world.

Sam said that being on stage is exciting: “Even though we’ve got this long tour ahead of us, it’s absolutely flying by. This is my first theatre show.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“I’ve enjoyed watching the show growing, being a part of it and watching my character grow. It’s so different and so exciting.”

She added: “I’ve always been interested in theatre and just wanted to wait for the right show to come along and get involved with. I just kind of thought ‘we’ll go for it and see what happens’ and here we are.

“The reviews have been great, really lovely to read. I’m really loving working alongside this cast as well.”

Sam said that the show's star Johnny falls in love with her character but gets dragged into a life of drugs and alcohol. She said: “You see me trying to help him and say you can have a better life than that.

“You get to a point where every female has where it snaps and she says ‘you’ve pushed me back so many times’. 

“When you see me exploding and saying ‘that’s it’, that's my favourite moment. I get to do that every night!”

Sam said she liked the band but was not a big fan before she joined the show. “I didn’t know as many songs as I thought, or I didn’t know them by names, but I do know more of them than I thought I did.

“This album, I just love it. It’s such an intense, energetic, powerful array of songs. It gives you that high adrenaline buzz.”

The performers are backed on stage by a live band, said Sam, adding that the show is mainly sung through without lots of dialogue. “It’s carried quite heavily through the music and how we tell stories through songs. 

Sam reckons it’s not show a show for Green Day fans: “It’s open to everyone and everybody.

“If you know the songs you will love it. We’ve had people come to show after show night after night. They are the diehards.”

Many of the numbers reflect the band’s videos, which the cast watched together, she said. They have tried to re-create that feel on stage.

“It’s very intense and has very intense subjects and needs to be shown in the correct way,” said Sam.

She has no doubt that The X Factor was a huge boost to her career but she chose her own direction.

“When you come off the show you have to decide the type of artist you want to be and where you want to go with it.”

Sam is still working on her singing career. She said: “I’m still doing my music. I’m lucky I’ve got the chance to do both.

I’d love to keep doing this and music. They really complement each other in different ways and why not? Never say never.” 

She released a single, What You Do, just before starting the tour and said she is working on her music when she gets a break from shows.

Green Day’s Amercan Idiot is at the Lyceum, Sheffield from March 26 to 30. Book online at www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk