I recently headed out to Broadway for a couple of days to catch some shows. The first one I saw was the Green Day Musical – American Idiot. I did lottery for the seats (first two rows at $27! Bargain) and thankfully won 🙂
Now, I will be honest from the outset and say I am really not a Green Day fan at all. However, not one to see a show we have in London on Broadway, I thought I’d take a look in. Tony Vincent was on holiday whilst I was there, so we had Andrew Call as St Jimmy.
I would say the show is a distinctive cross between Rent and We Will Rock You. It is most definitely a jukebox musical, twisting through Green Day’s American Idiot. However, it doesn’t have the light storyline that most jukebox musicals do. Instead it is drenched in missed opportunities, drug storylines and unexpected pregnancies. The storyline is not particularly deep, but it does have an edge to it that keeps you watching.
Wikipedia lists the storyline as follows – “The story, expanded from that of the concept album, centers on Johnny, a disaffected youth who flees stifling suburbia and his parents’ restrictions to look for meaning in his life, and to try out the freedom and excitement of the city. One of his friends stays home to work out his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend. Another friend serves in Iraq. Johnny finds a part of himself that he grows to dislike, has a relationship and experiences lost love.”
The show opens with a fantastic version of American Idiot, sung by the three leads as well as the ensemble cast. Despite only having a small ensemble of around five, many different roles are played throughout the duration of the show and it comes across as having a large ensemble. What shines throughout the whole show is the immense talent that this group of performers have. Whether it’s Andrew Call as the delightfully weird St Jimmy (who terrified me with his ability to appear from the shadows!) to Mary Faber as the beautifully placid Heather who switches in a second. I have to pick out Rebecca Naomi Jones as Whatsername who at times actually made me jump with the power of her vocals. At the end of the show, the cast performed a beautiful version of Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), which is the opposite of how I expected the show to end but ended it just perfectly.
This year (2010), American Idiot won Tony Awards for Best Lighting Design and Best Scenic Design. There is a reason! The set is used to its huge potential perfectly, with things randomly being pulled from the stage to hang from the ceiling, and staircases becoming buses at a moment’s notice. It takes an immensely talented scenic designer and director to pull off these kind of ideas, and they are done perfectly in American Idiot. The choreography of the show is simple but effective. The dance style is very contemporary and fits perfectly with the music and the plot of the show.
All in all, I loved the show and if you’re out in New York in the near future definitely pop in and see it. You won’t regret it!
I have attached a preview video of the show below. Video is copyrighted to its owners and is not owned by me.