City Centre Mirror
Though it will necessitate giving up her beloved Little Italy home, actress Talia Aaron is eager to take on all the next few months have to offer.
Aaron has joined the cast of American Idiot, a rock opera based on the songs of Green Day. As part of the ensemble, she will spend the next few weeks performing in Toronto before embarking on a tour that will take her away from home until at least mid-July.
The show, based on the acclaimed Green Day album of the same name, looks at life for a group of young friends in New York City in the days after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Aaron has been part of the local theatre scene since she was a youngster and has gravitated to rock-based work in recent years, landing roles in We Will Rock You and Mamma Mia, among others.
"I'm definitely a rocker; this stuff is more my bag," she said. "I have the training for classical musical theatre, but as far as what I'd want to do, this is it."
As part of the cast, Aaron is featured in a duet, 'Too Much Too Soon', sings harmony throughout the show and tackles various roles as an extra. She also understudies for the leads, but relishes the challenges of being part of the ensemble cast.
"We play everything from club-goers to club kids, drug addicts, businesspeople and girls in sparkly dresses," she said. "It's really crazy because you don't have a minute where you're not running around during the show. Sometimes, you're getting changed backstage and singing at the same time."
As a longtime Green Day fan - the band's breakout release Dookie was the first album she bought with her own money - Aaron was thrilled to be cast in American Idiot.
When not rocking out on stage, she is working toward a degree in radio and television arts at Ryerson University.
She also recently finished recording a debut album of her own songs and is in the process of having it mixed. She cites Jason Mraz, Eminem and Gorillaz as influences on her own musical style.
"It's kind of edgy roots rock with a bit of an electronic twist," she explained.
Aaron has also done some film and television work, perhaps best known for a recurring role on Strange Days at Blake Holsey High. Theatre, however, remains her first love.
"It's live, so you get one go and you do it right or you don't," she said. "I'd love to go back into film or TV, but if I had to pick one, I love the theatre."
Aaron comes by her artistic bent naturally. While neither of her parents were in show business, her father used to perform with bands in the 1970s and her mother brings her guitar in to class as a teacher.
As a longtime Toronto resident, Aaron noted she wants to ensure her U.S.-born American Idiot castmates have a good time during the show's run in Toronto.
"I feel kind of responsible for making sure they see how awesome this city is," she said.
As much as she is looking forward to the tour and seeing what new opportunities arise as a result, she will definitely miss home.
"I have a great house with classic Italian neighbours on one side and college kids on the other, and my favourite coffee place is really close," she said. "I don't know what will come up while I'm on tour or if I'll be back any time soon, but this is definitely home."
American Idiot runs through Sunday, Jan. 15 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. For tickets or information, call 416-644-3665 or visit www.dancaptickets.com