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American Idiot

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pushdabutton
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/05
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American Idiot #1
Posted: 5/7/10 at 7:23pm
What show is American Idiot similar to? Rent? Spring Awakening? Hair?

With everything else that is on Broadway right now, is American Idiot worth seeing? I only get to NYC 2-3 times a year and want to make it a worthwhile trip with a show that is not to be missed.

All opinions are welcomed and appreciated.
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dramamama611
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American Idiot #2
Posted: 5/7/10 at 8:55pm
Sort of like Rent in it's slacker like attitude, and sort of like SA for it's physicality.

it's impossible for me to tell you whether it's worth it for YOU to see it. Some folks LOVE it, others hate it.

MY opinion? I thought the performers were crazy good, but the book lacks inspiration. I was INTERESTED in it, but not invested in it. I didn't FEEL anything as I didn't care about the characters. I like Green Day but wouldn't call myself a fervent fan by any means. I think the cast recording sounds incredibly hollow -- which by no way reflects the way they sound live.

This season lacks any "must see shows" which is quite sad. What else are you considering seeing? What is a long running show that you HAVEN'T seen?
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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luvtheEmcee
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American Idiot #2
Posted: 5/7/10 at 9:17pm
I see the comparisons American Idiot desires to Rent, it clearly aspires to tap into that vein, but I don't see them in actuality. Rent had characters who could be considered "slackers," I suppose, but I think that's arguable. In American Idiot, there's not really any arguing that several of the characters of just that. I still don't see that "attitude" as a major grounds for comparison. And I know this is subjective, but... Rent had a heart. To me, AI had none. Although I know people who have been moved by it, so to each his own.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
Updated On: 5/7/10 at 09:17 PM
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pushdabutton
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American Idiot #3
Posted: 5/7/10 at 10:13pm
Thanks for your responses. I have pretty much seen all of the long running shows I have been interested in (Lion King, Phantom, Jersey Boys, In The Heights, Next To Normal, West Side Story, Hair, etc.)

I was also thinking of Sondheim On Sondheim (strictly because of Vanessa Williams), Promises, Promises or Fences although I would prefer a musical. Any thoughts?
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luvtheEmcee
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American Idiot #4
Posted: 5/7/10 at 10:15pm
I think I am in the minority on having enjoyed Promises, Promises. The production is certainly imperfect and don't even get me started on the sexual politics in that show, but I was still able to have a really good time when I saw it. It's cute, fun, and Sean Hayes' performance is, IMO, fantastic.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
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WiCkEDrOcKS
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American Idiot #5
Posted: 5/7/10 at 10:43pm
Agreed about PROMISES. It's not perfect, but it's fun. SONDHEIM is a letdown and FENCES is very enjoyable if nothing totally revelatory. Save for Viola Davis' astonishing performance.
Current Avatar: Cynthia Erivo, bringing down the house in The Color Purple.
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adamgreer
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American Idiot #6
Posted: 5/7/10 at 11:08pm
I thinkthe outstanding performances of Washington and Davis are reason enough to see Fences. It starts off a little slow, but act 2 is incredible.

Certainly a more intellectually stimulating evening than Promises Promises.
musicalman2
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joined:5/7/08
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American Idiot #7
Posted: 5/7/10 at 11:32pm
I highly recommend it. It is the most exciting musical on Broadway. Read the Isherwood review first and listen to the CD as well. I think you will get even more out of the show then.
broadfan327
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joined:3/20/08
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American Idiot #8
Posted: 5/7/10 at 11:39pm
I saw it tonight and sat there thinking that Hair is its ancestor. I also am listening to the cast recording plus Green Day (why Green Day had to be on the cast recording?) and agree that it sounds hollow compared to the live production.
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darquegk
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American Idiot #9
Posted: 5/7/10 at 11:42pm
Green Day have infrequently augmented the stage band, and so, they replace the usual performance musicians on the album tracks, but play the same score. It's probably more a financial thing than anything for them, so they make a larger percentage of the money off the musical, or maybe Billie Joe just likes being involved with his show.
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East Village
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American Idiot #10
Posted: 5/8/10 at 12:24am
I wanted to like AI a lot more than I did. I think I might actually give it a second try. My biggest problems with it were the set and movement.

The set -- that ugly wall of newspaper -- completely grounds the show. Very little happens throughout the evening and the set makes it all to clear that we're not going anywhere. It's not enhancing the production in any way. I think the show would actually play much better if they just tore that newspaper away and performed it on an empty stage which could at least approximate something environmental. That ugly wall just overpowers everything on stage.

Steven Hoggett's movement on Blackwatch elevated that show to the level of high art. He had a lot of specific parameters when Blackwatch traveled. It could never be performed on a stage, and they required the audience to set on both sides of the show.

With Idiot, so much of his movement is lost with proscenium staging. It comes across very one dimensional -- primarily taking place on the floor, baring a flying number and a couple of entrances. It doesn't build the way it did in the environmental atmosphere of Blackwatch. That said, his choreography is one of the best things about the show. It just didn't work for me when I had to watch it in a traditional theater.

I also found the show excruciating to sit through. It's like being forced to sit in a chair in the middle of a mosh pit. That's torture. It could use an intermission -- although so little happens or changes throughout the performance that it would be hard to figure out where to place it.

There are so many inventive moments and terrific vocal performances but they just didn't add up for me. I kept expecting something to happen. I still want to like the show. Now that I know what it is -- or more pointedly what it is not -- I think I might enjoy it more on the second go round.

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bythesword84
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American Idiot #11
Posted: 5/8/10 at 12:27am
American Idiot is without a doubt something you have to see because I think it's a show that is impossible to predict if someone will like it or not. I, personally, love it. I thought everything about it was fantastic and as much as I agree Hair is probably the closest thing to its ancestor I find Hair to be a torturous show, and I'm also not a fan of Rent OR Spring Awakening so don't think having to love or dislike any of those other shows matters when compared to this one.

(Just to chime in on the rest of it, Fences, of the other shows you listed, was by far the best, but I'd still see AI over any of them)
And hang on, when did you win the discus?
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Mildred Plotka
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American Idiot #12
Posted: 5/8/10 at 12:56am
It desires to be "One of a Kind" but is really a hodgepodge of many rock musicals (film and stage), performance art, avant garde theatre, rock concert, over-emotive senior thesis, HAIR, Spring Awakening, and about 100 other things. It wants to be original but really is a rip-off of ideas that have been repeated in various mediums over and over. Oh yeah, and it's really, really, really, almost offensivly loud.

I saw 9 shows during this last trip and this was easily one I could have skipped. It was okay, but it really wants to be groundbreaking and just isn't. The sets and lighting are great, though. I found the performances extremely angsty and quite grating at times (especially John Gallagher Jr.). And I count myself as a Green Day fan and loved Mayer's work in Spring Awakening. If the choreography annoyed you in Spring Awakening, it'll bug you even more here. Did I mention it's really loud?

If you're looking for an original rock musical that actually is groundbreaking go to Bloody, Bloddy Andrew Jackson at The Public.

I think the worst crime a show can commit is to have a gigantic chip on its shoulder and American Idiot, as much as I wanted to like it, has a huge one.

Of what you listed: If you're a Vanessa Williams fan, go to Sondheim and Sondheim. She's fabulous in it (and that Sondheim stuff ain't so bad, that kid's really got potential). If you've never seen Barbara Cook, that's a must too. I liked Promises, Promises far more than most. It's great fun and Sean Hayes is giving a confident, wonderful Broadway debut. It never takes itself seriously and Ashford's choreography (sans Turkey Lurkey) is fantastic.
"Broadway...I'll lick you yet!"
Updated On: 5/8/10 at 12:56 AM
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bythesword84
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American Idiot #13
Posted: 5/8/10 at 1:09am
"Oh yeah, and it's really, really, really, almost offensively loud."

People keep mentioning how loud it is, but I've never noticed that it was any louder than any other rock musical- and it was nowhere near as disgustingly loud as Passing Strange where my seat actually vibrated from it.
And hang on, when did you win the discus?
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American Idiot #14
Posted: 5/8/10 at 1:15am
I thought it made Passing Strange sound like a whisper in comparison. Also, Passing Strange had more variation in volume. American Idiot was the same ear splitting decible for the whole 100 minutes. I have really sensitive ears but have also been to many a rock concert and never felt this annoyed by the volume. It may also have to do with the accoustics. That theatre wasn't meant to hold that much noice (maybe that's their point, but it was lost on me).
"Broadway...I'll lick you yet!"
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sorano916
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American Idiot #15
Posted: 5/8/10 at 1:17am
Yeah, I don't get the "really, really, really, almost offensively loud" vibe either. And I've sat in basically every area in that theatre. The only part that I would say is louder than the rest would be the bombs, but that's only a brief moment.

To the OP: I would say see the show. If you want to get the best grasp of it, go to BroadwayBox, get the code, and find a decent Mezz seat. It'll be cheaper and you'll get the whole view of the stage. You'll love it/like it/hate it. I'm one of those who rather see something than regret not seeing it. By that's just me. :)
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American Idiot #16
Posted: 5/8/10 at 1:19am
Eh maybe it just sounds louder to those who can see right through Michael Mayer's big bag of pretentious bull**** and flashy theatrical "tricks".
"Broadway...I'll lick you yet!"
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bythesword84
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American Idiot #17
Posted: 5/8/10 at 1:25am
Sorry Mildred but given this sentence "American Idiot was the same ear splitting decible for the whole 100 minutes." I'm really not entirely sure what show you saw, so it's best to just agree to disagree.

Also the OP, I second what sorano says.
And hang on, when did you win the discus?
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Mildred Plotka
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American Idiot #18
Posted: 5/8/10 at 1:28am
Oh I'm far from the first person to say this (or the last).
"Broadway...I'll lick you yet!"
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luvtheEmcee
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American Idiot #19
Posted: 5/8/10 at 1:31am
I don't think it's the volume so much as it's the balance. I didn't find it too loud, I just had a very difficult time catching a lot of the lyrics... and that's something that you kind of need to be able to get. I wish I had been familiar with more of the songs going in, because then at least I'd have known the lyrics I wasn't able to make out.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
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ljay889
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American Idiot #20
Posted: 5/8/10 at 1:45am
I just had a very difficult time catching a lot of the lyrics... and that's something that you kind of need to be able to get. I wish I had been familiar with more of the songs going in, because then at least I'd have known the lyrics I wasn't able to make out.

I completely agree. I had the same issue.
broadfan327
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American Idiot #21
Posted: 5/8/10 at 2:10am
>Green Day have infrequently augmented the stage band, and so, >they replace the usual performance musicians on the album >tracks, but play the same score. It's probably more a >financial thing than anything for them, so they make a larger >percentage of the money off the musical, or maybe Billie Joe >just likes being involved with his show.

I understand they will sell more CDs if Green Day is singing, but I can buy their original album if I want to hear them sing. It would be like Elton John saying I can sing "Electricity" better than the actor portraying Billy Elliot can, so I will sing it on the cast recording, even though Elton is not a member of the cast.

Count me in as one who was really impressed with the show. I can understand how people would not like it though.
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bythesword84
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American Idiot #22
Posted: 5/8/10 at 2:21am
...with the exception of the bonus track, Green Day plays the music on the songs but doesn't sing them.
And hang on, when did you win the discus?
broadfan327
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American Idiot #23
Posted: 5/8/10 at 2:38am
>...with the exception of the bonus track, Green Day plays the >music on the songs but doesn't sing them.

My mistake. Thank you for clarifying. I thought "Featuring Green Day" meant they sang. I don't have a problem with them playing the music.
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winston89
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American Idiot #24
Posted: 5/8/10 at 3:23am
I don't think that this show is "trying to be" anything. I think that with so many shows having been based on other things, it is hard to be completely original. People are saying that this is "trying to be" Rent or Spring Awakening (two other shows also based on an opera and a play respectfully) when it in fact is it's own thing and it reminds them of the two mentioned shows. I also think that it is not giving full credit where it is due to Mayer in his direction of American Idiot by saying that he is basing his work on other things. Furthermore, I don't believe that it is uncommon for someone to see patterns in a director's body of work.
"If you try to shag my husband while I am still alive, I will shove the art of motorcycle maintenance up your rancid little Cu**. That's a good dear" Tom Stoppard's Rock N Roll