American Idiot Broadway Review
Right from the start of the American Idiot Broadway show you can tell it is going to go for the jugular. One would not expect much less considering it is the works of one of the most successful punk rock bands in history. As the characters take to the stage and display their aggression and anger for the watered down world they grew up in towards each other you instantly become aware of the direction for the show. It is going to be a full on, energetic event. This is a true rock opera for the 21 century and it more than delivers for those wanting to partake in the action.
The American Idiot Broadway musical is the stage version of their concept album that goes by the same name. The conception for the album was based on the rock opera genre and was meant to be a theatrical listen. Founding member, lead singer and main songwriter for "Green Day," Billie Joe Armstrong strongly felt the songs had all the pieces for a stage show, and he was correct. After listening to the album Broadway director Michael Mayer, famous for his recent work on "Spring Awakening ) approached the band with the idea of using the album to base a musical around. The production got its start at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre on September 4, 2009 before being tweaked a bit for the bright lights of Broadway.
The story focuses around three best friends and their journey into adulthood. Each holding resentment to the media comma they have been placed in but at the same time seemingly under its spell. Johnny (John Gallagher Jr.) decides to leave his hometown of "Jingletown, U.S.A,” Tunny (Stark Sands) sees what he thinks is the good life by joining the military while Will (Michael Esper) learns his girlfriend is pregnant and stays put at home. From here we follow the paths of the characters through the decisions they have made.
The story is told almost strictly through the song lyrics, the book for the musical maybe ten-minutes tops. The tale is a somewhat predictable one, a few naive kids think they got the world figured out and dive in head first only to realize certain truths. What happens to the three friends is not a light affair and rather depressing as they descend into deep, dark worlds of heavy drug use, war and violence. The songs which create the story are full of foul language and carry behind them little weight. Still, the show has so much energy you cannot help but become enveloped by all the excitement.
Perhaps what is making the American Idiot Broadway musical such a success with audiences as well as critics are the fact that it is daring and different. Sure the rock opera is nothing new to Broadway but one as hard hitting as this is. This musical production "up's the ante" the ante" and lay it all out on the table, it goes "all in" and then some. For many, Broadway has been caught in the same cookie cutter media induced slumber which the three main characters are the victim of. To see something this fresh and with such a sharp edge lights a new flame of what is possible on the stage.
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