American Idiot On Broadway - A Rock Opera That Does Punk Proud!
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American Idiot on Broadway is a new stage musical inspired on and based upon the Green Day concept album of the same name. Green Day released "American Idiot" in 2004 to critical acclaim. Lead singer and song writer Billie Joe Armstrong felt the album would go on the stage, or it will pursue a future in film based on its strong concepts. The album drew most of its inspiration from a more theatrical background than previous Green Day albums. Director Michael Mayer, after listening to the album, felt strongly that it could be played out on the stage, and he approached the band. With all sides in agreement on the intentions of a musical production they began work on the project.
The stage show got its start with premiers on September 4, 2009 at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The stage show gained a quick audience and became a huge hit for the theatre, quickly becoming the largest grossing show in the venue's history. The shows limited run was extended twice until November 15, 2009. The original show has been slightly revised for the big stage of Broadway where it opened on April 20, 2010 at the St. James Theatre.
American Idiot on Broadway takes the groundbreaking rock album and turns it into a full blown rock opera. Centering around angry youths, which are fed up with their televisions as well as the dull, bleak lives that their suburban environment provides. The plot quickly moves on to introduce and follow three best friends: Johnny, Will, and Tunny as they abandoned the world they know for a faster paced city lifestyle. The storyline relies very little on dialogue and instead uses the lyrics from the songs to relay its message to the audience.
The Broadway production includes every song from the highly acclaimed "American Idiot" album and even adds several more from the band's Grammy-nominated new release, "21st Century Breakdown." The material covered within American Idiot on Broadway is dark and meant for adult audiences. The language is harsh, there is strong drug use and even violence. The show is perhaps a reminiscence of a "coming of age" story such as "Stand By Me", except stripping out the 1950's innocence and throwing you directly into a post 9/11 world. The musical is bold, loud and in your face all adding up to be quite a delightful change from a stripped down "pop song" Broadway landscape.
American Idiot on Broadway may not be for everyone, especially families looking for a nice time in more a standard Broadway fashion. Of course for fans of Green Day and the punk music style they summon it is sure to be a vast hit, even if musicals don't provide much of a "pit. "American Idiot" provides a glimpse into today's wasted youth and holds no punches, it strongly lives up to the "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" anthem and then blows off the doors.
While it seems Broadway has been trying to find its pulse for the last few seasons "American Idiot" just may provide the jolt. Whether or not this "punk-rock opera" reinvigorates the Great White Way is unclear, it may never reach across the mainstream masses. Still, the show has won over most critics with its moving story, edgy score and versatile cast. The direction of Michael Mayer is brilliant as is the cast behind him. If on the fence about what to see when in New York City and looking for a Broadway show that' strays off from the 'norm" then American Idiot on Broadway is sure to win you over. Tickets are on sale now from the St. James Theatre box office.
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