‘American Idiot’: A Broadway musical by punk rockers Green Day

As an audience member, you will either love this production or hate it.
If you are a Green Day fan, in all probability you will take it as a feast of Green Day music. If you are not a fan, you will shake your head and wonder what possessed you to vie for the best seat in the house.
The 13 songs included in this rock opera are considered the top of the ladder that Billie Joe Armstrong and Green Day have produced to date. The band’s album, American Idiot, sold more than 14 million records worldwide, and won the Grammy for best rock album in 2005.
The thin hour-and-a-half transition to the stage as a musical does not match the record. The gritty exterior of the music is lost in the lack of depth in an old format storyline that tries to be edgy – without success. The cast is not to blame: they work with the vigor of a southern Baptist tent revival and deliver with extra talent and energy. The mix of unhappy reality with convenient fantasy (especially the flying scene) just doesn’t make it. The production relies on the songs on the album, and most of the time they do not integrate with the plot. There was an unnecessary sex scene that made more than a few folks sitting nearby uncomfortable.
Three guys lolling about without purpose in a small town decide to grab life and shoot for the experience. One gets stuck with an unplanned pregnancy; one goes to the big city and ends up deep into the drug scene; and the third goes into the service and loses a leg. They all end up back home with supposedly a better understanding of life. Getting there is an uncomfortable and bumpy road, singing Green Day songs that never seem to get on track with the plot.
“Mamma Mia” took ABBA’s songs and blended them with a sweet, silly plot that was an enjoyable romp. “The Jersey Boys” took the music of that time and told the story of the group with an honest grasp that made sense and left the audience with something to think about. “American Idiot” does none of that. My suggestion is to buy the CD, stay home and listen to great Green Day music – or go to the theatre and get depressed.

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