FLAT ROCK — The Rock survived the cast of "American Idiot." The sweet tea did not.
A bus carrying the cast of the national touring production of the rock musical based on the music of Green Day rolled in to Flat Rock Friday afternoon en route from Nashville to Charlotte.
Instead of the usual choice of chicken nuggets, burgers and fries, the young singer-dancers feasted at an oasis of Southern hospitality, thanks to the Rouse family and other Hendersonville friends.
Turner Rouse Jr., an ensemble member who will be playing one of the lead roles, the Rock'n'Roll Boyfriend, this weekend in Charlotte, is a Hendersonville native who trained at the YouTheatre of the Flat Rock Playhouse.
His parents, Debbie and Turner Rouse, hosted a quick lunch stop at the Jim Dan-Dee dining hall on the Great Flat Rock. Young Turner's grandparents, Jane Rouse Waddell, and Ruth and Charles Pace, paid for the feed from Hubba Hubba barbecue and Dean's Deli in Flat Rock. The buffet included pulled chicken, macaroni and cheese, salad and a smoked tofu salad from Hubba Hubba, broccoli salad from Dean's and platters of deviled eggs — young Turner's favorite — made by both grandmothers.
P.D. Seltzer, company manager of the tour, said the cast has done an outstanding job since it launched the show last August with a swing through Britain. It's got 21 more cities to go on the U.S. tour. The show has been extended to Tokyo and Seoul. Fans of Green Day tend to follow the music on social media, and they have turned out for "American Idiot."
"I don't think there's been a show where we didn't have a standing ovation," Seltzer said. "People that come to this show are familiar with the group. It's not like anybody that buys a ticket is taking a chance. They pretty much know it's a loud punk show. It's not 'The Music Man,' that's for sure."
Rouse is a backup singer and dancer, called a swing, and understudies six roles. He has been on almost every night.
"I think he's gone on in all the roles, and there are a lot," Seltzer said. "The show is very demanding on the body. People get sick, people get injured."
Rouse said he had been sick himself last week and got the call.
"I had to," he said. "It was to the point where nobody could call out."
The cast has two male swings and one female, and for a show as demanding as "American Idiot" all get plenty of work.
"I never know when I'm going to go on," said Antwaun Holley, the other male swing. "It could be mid-show. I never get bored."
Rouse family friends and Turner's godmothers, Lou Reeves, Lindsay Butler and Jana Humleker, supplemented the buffet with brownies and homemade Chex mix. Butler made the carrot cake to celebrate Jane Rouse Waddell's 86th birthday.
The beverage was special order.
"He wanted his friends to have sweet tea," Debbie Rouse said. She got in touch with the Thompsons at Harry's and Piggy's — "they have the best sweet tea" — which donated three gallons of tea — one sweet and two unsweet. The bus headed down the Saluda grade for Charlotte.
The "American Idiot" cast left behind two full jugs of the unsweet stuff. The sweet tea was gone.