New York Times (original article)
February 17, 2010
By Erik Piepenburg
Tony Vincent has a soft Mohawk-like haircut, a big voice and a past in pop music. So it’s not entirely surprising that Mr. Vincent, one of the stars of “American Idiot,” the coming Broadway show based on a Green Day album, would list among his influences some of rock’s most theatrical leading men: Freddie Mercury of Queen, David Lee Roth of Van Halen, Robert Smith of the Cure.
And Jesus of Nazareth?
“Christ died for me and you, and we embrace that or we don’t,” Mr. Vincent said. “That’s totally a personal conviction. I know personally my life has completely been changed.”
Mr. Vincent, a 36-year-old native of Albuquerque, N.M., got his start in Christian pop while living in Nashville in the early 1990s. He signed a record deal as a solo act and opened for popular Christian bands like dc Talk and the Newsboys.
“I was on a mission to bring Depeche Mode into Christian music,” Mr. Vincent said with a smile.
But he grew disillusioned with performing in “a Christian bubble,” as he put it, and moved to New York in 1998 with an eye toward a more secular music career. He wound up on Broadway in “Rent” and a revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and went on to play the vocally challenging lead in the London and Las Vegas productions of the Queen musical “We Will Rock You.”
But it was his work in “American Idiot” at Berkeley Repertory Theater last year, a production that begins previews at the St. James Theater next month, that had critics talking. The New York Times critic Charles Isherwood called Mr. Vincent “louche and compelling, and the evening’s strongest vocalist.”
To bring to life St. Jimmy, a drug dealer who seduces a wayward teenager (played by John Gallagher Jr.) with the promise of drugs and girls, Mr. Vincent combines the glam-rock looks of Adam Lambert with the androgynous authority of Marilyn Manson.
“You want this guy to be sexually attractive, and yet he’s so dangerous, he could cut your throat in three seconds,” he said. “That is a huge opportunity for an actor.”
Mr. Vincent, who attends Redeemer Presbyterian Church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, said he saw no contradiction between his faith and his work on the stage.
“I am a born-again Christian, but that’s not the coat that I wear,” he said. “It’s just how my heart’s been changed.”