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American Idiot
a Musical
by Green Day, Billie Joe Armstrong, Michael Mayer

COMPANY : Broadway Across America [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Fabulous Fox [WEBSITE]
ID# 4574

SHOWING : May 01, 2014 - May 04, 2014



Based on Green Day’s Grammy Award-winning album, American Idiot tells the story of three lifelong friends forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia. The show features the songs "21 Guns," "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "Wake Me Up When September Ends" and "Holiday."

American Idiot stars Jared Napute as Johnny, Casey O’Farrell as Will, Dan Tracy as Tunny, Carson Higgins as St. Jimmy, Olivia Puckett as Whatsername, Mariah MacFarlane as Heather and Taylor Jones as the Extraordinary Girl. The show is helmed by Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer.

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Hair Re-Weave
by playgoer
Monday, May 5, 2014
"American Idiot" consists of a Green Day album put onstage with a story imposed on it. The story involves three slacker band mates, each of whom has a different story arc. One gets his girlfriend pregnant and stays behind, losing his girl to a new man. One joins the armed forces and gets his leg blown off, finding love with a caretaker. The third gets into drugs, losing his dream girl to drug-induced violence, then finally comes clean and gets a boring office job. The story arcs combine when at the end all three return to their hometown. It’s a pretty bleak affair.

The whole thing is performed with great energy. Sound levels are high, with the instrumentals generally overwhelming voices, so a lot of the song lyrics can’t be distinguished. Many are repetitive, so the general gist can at least be determined. It doesn’t really matter. Since the story was imposed on the songs, the songs can’t be expected to clarify the story points in any detail.

The punk rock score is accompanied by repetitive, often repulsive mass movements that I would tend to call twitching or thrusting rather than dancing. This all occurs on a unit set with TV monitors embedded in the walls and industrial scaffolding on wheels allowing some movement.

The whole thing smacks of a re-working of "Hair." Free love, drugs, and army induction play equal parts in both storylines, with rock scores driving somewhat loose plots. Like "Hair" when it first opened, the show probably has its fanatic adherents, but it’s not a particularly good fit with the generally staid crowd that buys expensive Broadway Across America tickets. Maybe in a generation it will become more palatable to an audience at large.

The audience at the performance I attended applauded politely at the ends of numbers, but did not seem engrossed in the story. Many people left early. That made the scripted encore after the curtain call seem superfluous, especially since its message of "we hope you had the time of your lives" was at odds with the depressing show that had just concluded.

The performers all seemed to be pretty interchangeable to me. Focus shifts so often that it’s sometimes difficult to associate an actor with the role he’s playing. The only comment I have on the acting is that Carson Higgins (as St. Jimmy) seemed to be the most difficult to understand. I’m not sure if his diction or the extra-loudness of his musical accompaniment was to blame. Sound levels befitting a deafness-inducing rock concert are not, in my opinion, appropriate for any live theatre in which plot takes a part. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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