BWW Reviews: AMERICAN IDIOT
One may argue that AMERICAN IDIOT is a glorified concert. Or that it is just a medium for singing Green Day songs while swearing and making rude guestures, and I think a few members of the audience thought that as they left shortly after the first song. However, there is much more to the musical then just the music.
The curtain rises on the busy set, which actually appealed to my slight ADHD. There were about 25 tevevision screens all over the back wall flashing images, all were different images and I do not envy the person who had to maintain those files. The lights were flashing color all over the stage and there was scaffolding that the actors and dancers were climbing all over while singing. The band was spread across the stage, strings were stage right, the drums were up left and the piano/synthesizer leader was down stage left. Downstage spread across the stage were the three main characters.
I want to mention at this point that I do own the soundtrack. However, I never really could figure out what the story was, exactly. The songs are enough to suggest the story but it's a bit hard to figure it out from soundtrack only. That is one reason why this is not a glorified concert. I can now tell you all three stories. The story of the man whose girlfriend became pregnant and what happens to their relationship, the man who goes off to do great things and ends up with a heroin (St Jimmy) addiction, and the man who joined the service and lost his leg in battle: concerts have trouble getting that story across.
The set was very versatile and the cast was amazing with how they manipulated it when needed. It was very "grunge" in how it was colored and they relied on the projection screensaver and television monitors to help set the locations and set the feel. The set was divided into three sections, one for each man's story. The lights were colorful red, white, and blues.
If there wasn't so much language and rude gesturing, I think this is a perfect show for youth today to see. The dancers were professional but it was street style dancing. It seemed like it was a more attainable style of dancing than tap or ballet. It was a story of coming to adulthood and the different paths that life can take so it would speak to the youth. They were all very talented, yet it still seemed like "I could see myself up there!"
Photos taken by Jeremy Daniel.