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'American Idiot' **Reviews**

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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#1
Posted: 4/20/10 at 7:37pm
Looking good so far.....


Associated Press.

Anyone for alienation?
The angry, aimless youth who populate the stage adaptation of Green Day's
"American Idiot" have found their way to Broadway, venting their cynical
unhappiness with life in the same theater that once housed such sunny,
all-American musical-theater classics as "Oklahoma!" and "Hello, Dolly!"

A permanent state of disaffection runs through this visually striking,
musically adventurous take on the 2004 best-selling album that Green Day
frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and director Michael Mayer have turned into a
show.

The musical, which opened Tuesday at the St. James Theatre, is short, some
95 minutes. Just right for an MTV generation weaned on YouTube clips and
music videos. "American Idiot," in fact, plays like one. Wildly diverting to
look it, the show has the barest wisp of a story and minimal character
development. At best, its slacker guys are sketchy portraits, prototypes
rather than real people.

Fortunately, there are compensations, most notably the show's highly
theatrical, punk-rock score, sung by a high-energy cast, headed by John
Gallagher Jr. The gifted actor, a Tony winner for "Spring Awakening,"
portrays Johnny, the show's petulant antihero who flees a deadening suburbia
and descends into sex, drugs and fierce guitar playing in his quest to find
himself in the big city.

That pretty much describes the plot, although there are minimal side trips
to delve into the tribulations of the show's two other confused Musketeers
who hope to embark on that life adventure with him.

But Will, played by Michael Esper, gets trapped by his pregnant girl friend
(Mary Faber). And the impressionable Tunny (Stark Sands) finds seduction of
another sort: a gung-ho military career that has him being shipped off to
Iraq where he is wounded.

Johnny, meanwhile, is ensnared by a sexually provocative if nebulous young
woman - with the telling monicker of Whatsername - played by a tempting
Rebecca Naomi Jones. And then there are the drugs, showered on Johnny by a
persuasive dealer named St. Jimmy. As played by a demonic Tony Vincent, the
man is hardly beatific, but, boy, can he sing.

And it is the songs - blessed with superb power orchestrations by Tom Kitt
(the composer of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Next to Normal") - that take
over when the book fades into an afterthought. The theater score has been
fleshed out with several numbers from Green Day's latest release, "21st
Century Breakdown," including the hit "21 Guns."

The songs excel at portraying emotion if not plot, and you can see why the
"American Idiot" recording was such a success. The catchy Green Day melodies
are often hypnotic while Armstrong's lyrics are big and bold.

Mayer has scattered the potent on-stage band around the playing area,
including high up a back wall, created by designer Christine Jones. That
wall is studded with video monitors where the vacuity of American life is
prominently displayed.

The savvy director is not above a few arresting theatrical tricks, including
a "Peter Pan" moment when the wounded Iraq war vet flies - direct from his
hospital bed - and spins romantically in an aerial ballet with a lovely
hallucination (Christina Sajous).

The show's chorus is just that - an anonymous band of hardworking kids who
throw themselves into the material with abandon.

Fans of the recording most likely will marvel at this theatrical take on
"American Idiot." It will give then a stunning visualization of what they
already have on their iPods or CD players. Others might want a little more
from the characters who are displaying such all-consuming angst.
*******************************************************


USA Today:

'American Idiot' elevates hope above nihilism

by Elysa Gardner

Anyone who had hoped that Green Day would finally bring punk-rock nihilism
to Broadway is about to be sorely disappointed.

Few could have predicted that American Idiot (***½ out of four), the new
adaptation of the band's massively popular, starkly disenchanted album of
the same name, would be the feel-good musical of the season.

But in the hands of director Michael Mayer, who also co-wrote the libretto
with Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, Idiot has become just that -
as well as a case study in the power of teamwork in musical theater.

Mayer is to be credited with recognizing the hope amid the social commentary
and sometimes-unfocused angst of the show's source. Armstrong has described
the album as a response to the Bush administration's assault on civil
liberties after 9/11, but the songs' anti-war messages and accounts of
youthful alienation do little more than retread paths charted with more
insight and depth in the 20th century.

The stage version of Idiot, which opened Tuesday at the St. James Theatre,
flirts with cliché as well. The cast members, dressed in the gaudy, tattered
garb that's the universal uniform of disaffected teens and twentysomethings,
stumble like zombies around Christine Jones' cluttered, spectacular set,
which suggests a post-apocalyptic rec room. TV sets hang everywhere,
flashing hypnotic appeals to the captive kids: Tune in. Zone out. Buy.
Enlist.

Luckily, Mayer and Armstrong refuse to dismiss individual characters as
victims of society, incapable of making choices - or growing up, for that
matter - and the dynamic cast obliges their generosity. As Johnny, a
suburban lad whose big-city dreams lead to bigger challenges, John Gallagher
Jr. delivers a performance that's more nuanced than his Tony-winning turn as
a tortured misfit in Spring Awakening but just as intense.

Rebecca Naomi Jones wields sensual ferocity and disarming tenderness as the
girlfriend who won't give up on him (for a while, at least). Michael Esper
and Stark Sands appear as Johnny's beleaguered buddies; the first is stumped
by unexpected fatherhood, while the latter's dreams of military heroism
exact a harrowing price. But both are drawn, and played, with an empathy,
humor and zest that defy pity.

The score, which also includes songs from Green Day's 21st Century
Breakdown, is similarly buoyant. Tom Kitt's lush, harmony-laden arrangements
make the tunes work in a theatrical context without sacrificing their
guitar-fueled crunch.

And Steven Hoggett's athletic, exhilarating choreography ensures that even
the most slacker-like ensemble members eventually wake from their trances -
and keeps the audience happily enthralled.

Not that you'll need much prodding to fall for this fundamentally
affectionate, surprisingly uplifting show. Not if you've ever been a kid, or
believed in one.
**********************************


The London Financial Times

American Idiot

by Brendan Lemon

Doris Lessing once said that every generation thinks that it discovered sex.
The same could be said for drugs and rock 'n' roll. The new Broadway musical
American Idiot can have nothing especially new to reveal about any of these
subjects but it does reinvent them in such a way as to make them once again
feel a little more dangerous and a lot more alive.

Inspired by and including all the music from the popular 2004 album of the
same title from the neo-punk trio Green Day, American Idiot is an authentic
rock opera. Unlike Rent, from which it borrows the conceit of a central
couple mired in drugs, and unlike Spring Awakening, with which it shares a
director (Michael Mayer) and the use of a levitating platform and an onstage
band, American Idiot makes scant attempt at a fully fleshed-out book.

Instead, its snippets of monologue, written by Mayer and Billie Joe
Armstrong, Green Day's frontman, provide just enough story to carry us
through what is, in essence, a 90-minute wall-of-sound rock concert. It is
performed by a young cast, with an occasional ballad to allow the actors to
catch their breath.

The curtain rises with the voice of George W.?Bush intoning ominously about
evil-axis member North Korea, a gesture that plants us firmly in the
mid-noughties. Youthful angst is at the centre of the show's flimsy
narrative. Johnny, the central character, given fierce drive by John
Gallagher Jr, and his two best friends, Will, the magnificently coiffed
Michael Esper, and Tunny, the slightly too all-American Stark Sands, are
preparing to bolt the confines of American suburbia.

Their fates will be familiar to anyone who has seen Hair and its progeny:
Johnny embraces drugs; Will gets his girlfriend pregnant; Tunny goes off to
war. The point here isn't story but style, and American Idiot delivers its
predictable message (life, especially its US variety, can sometimes suck) in
spectacular fashion. The poster-plastered, video-monitored set of Christine
Jones and the driving orchestrations of Tom Kitt keep everything in visceral
motion. Only the choreography of Steven Hoggett, beloved for his work on
Black Watch, disappoints, its gibber-and-twitch vocabulary too often
suggestive of over-caffeinated zombies. Otherwise, American Idiot ignites.


Updated On: 4/20/10 at 07:37 PM
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#2
Posted: 4/20/10 at 7:50pm
The Chicago Tribune:

Punk with possibilities: 'American Idiot'
is Green Day staying true to itself on Broadway
by Chris Jones

Stuck in filthy beds and La-Z-Boys and doped up on soda pop, Ritalin and
somebody else's cocaine, the furious, alienated and unshowered youth of
Green Day's "American Idiot" come to explosive life on the Broadway stage in
a heart-pounding, punk-rock opera that sounds the unmistakable siren of
generational shift.

Of course, some things in art and commerce never change. The younger
generation has always seemed mysterious and exotic to the rattlers of
traditional Broadway jewelry. If there's no Johnson or Vietnam, you can
always use Bush and Iraq. Railing against the anesthetizing media never goes
out of style.

And stage musicals have always needed soaring melodies, especially in the
absence of fleshed-out characters or much of a book. So while putting up a
show based on the 13 songs on a 2004 album from a bunch of Oakland, Calif.,
punks might seem like throwing away the rule book - which, to some extent,
it is - Green Day is hardly the Sex Pistols. For that album, also titled
"American Idiot," the band penned what you could call punk with possibility:
its inner, nihilistic fury leavened by aspirational dreams of make-believe,
played in major keys.

And thus "American Idiot," the show, delivers a thick, gorgeous head rush of
a musical soundscape without current Broadway parallel. It turns out to
offer the kind of sensual lushness that a lot more traditional musicals
would kill to emulate. That's mostly due to the brilliance of Tom Kitt's
orchestrations, adding violin, cello, weight and gravitas to the Green Day
sound without blunting its aggressive edge. With the gifted director Michael
Mayer spreading his eight-member band out across a beautifully cacophonous
setting - more a video-filled installation, really - from Christine Jones
that evokes a constant blaring of Fox News in an endless sea of 7-Eleven
parking lots and crappy urban apartments, you get a stunning musical wash of
all corners of human emotion.

That's what sustains "American Idiot" (developed at the Berkeley Repertory
Theatre) for its 90 minutes, and that's what stays in your head for days
thereafter. The singing, especially from John Gallagher Jr., but sustained
across performers such as Stark Sands, Michael Esper, Mary Faber and Tony
Vincent, is frequently breathtaking. And the choreographer, Steven Hoggett,
has somehow found a swooping, stuttering organic vocabulary that makes
head-banging quite a beautiful act. A delicate line has been walked here
between the purity of anger and the needs of filling a colorful stage. It
has been walked with great precision and creativity, but it works mostly
because this "American Idiot" is a true and honest theatricalization of
Green Day's inherently theatrical music.

Mayer (who shares book credit with Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer of
Green Day) uses three characters to tell the story of the album. The
sensualist Johnny (Gallagher) gets hooked on sex and drugs; patriotic Tunny
(Sands) gets sent to Iraq to suffer; Will (Esper) gets his wings clipped by
a pregnant girlfriend (Faber) and encroaching monotony. Their actions aren't
especially unusual within this lexicon (Tunny's dream involving an Iraqi
woman excepted), and there are mercifully few lines of dialogue or strained
connective tissue. The numbers aren't scrambled; they play out in the order
of the album.

"American Idiot" certainly borrows vocabulary from a range of antecedents,
ranging from "Hair" to "The Who's Tommy" to "Angels in America" to "Spring
Awakening." But like all game-changing shows, it also makes you realize that
the moment you thought was still now - Bush's "Mission Accomplished" and the
surrounding clatter - is now a bleeding history, crashing through lives and
subject to song.
*****************************************



The Village Voice.

Green Day's Vivid, Lurid, Somewhat Vapid American Idiot Musical
by Rob Harvilla

F*CK-****-****-****-****, goes the Green Day musical. F*CK this, **** that,
**** me, **** you. Like mall-punk Mamet. The 10-pound curse words are
voluminous from the garish, manic onset of American Idiot, the curtain
rising on a phalanx of pretty, vacant coed youth, grunged-up and homicidally
disaffected, who bark out the title track amid an epileptic tirade of strobe
lights and further hypnotic sensory overload via a couple dozen televisions
embedded in the walls at jagged angles, MTV-style. The onslaught ends with
our three putative male heroes all face-down on couches, the screens
broadcasting upside-down American flags, the Friday-night crowd's sustained
applause impressively riotous.

And then it's time for some swearin'. Opening line: "I jerked off into
oblivion last night." The putative male heroes introduce themselves, wave
around a few middle fingers, greet each other ("Cocksucker!" "Shitbag!"),
crack a stepfather = mother****er joke, and prance off to the 7-11, deep in
the throes of the multi-suite teenage-riot rant "Jesus of Suburbia." Stage
direction: "Johnny challenges his friends to give a ****." The phalanx
reconvenes, chanting, "I don't care if you don't care" en masse. Stage
direction: "They all trash the place." Bus tickets and packed bags
materialize: "Take one last look at this ****hole, 'cause these are our
tickets outta here!" One of the dudes is held back by his knocked-up
girlfriend, plops down on the couch, and pretty much stays there for the
whole 90-minute, intermissionless duration, which, given that his wobbly
falsetto is entirely at odds with the snot-nosed dominant vocal aesthetic
here, is probably best for everyone involved; the other two prepare for an
arduous, emotionally tumultuous journey to . . . the other side of the
stage.

This show is not a terrible idea. Green Day's original 2004 American Idiot
is pretty much mainstream rock's one and only credible album-length riposte
to The (F*CKing) Bush Years, not so much blatantly political as just
generally bewildered and enraged in a way that still put the Berkeley boys
light years ahead of the shock-and-awe curve, plainly re-energized by having
something to sing about other than jerking off into oblivion. The musical,
directed by Michael Mayer, he of rock-on-Broadway phenomenon Spring
Awakening (itself notably verbally uncouth during such crowd-pleasers as
"The Bitch of Living" and "Totally F*CKed"), has plenty of ammo song-wise, a
perfectly adequate onstage band cherry-picking as well from nominal 2009
sequel 21st Century Breakdown and offering one back-catalog mega-hit as an
encore. (One guess.) Better these guys than, like, U2.

But the result, though vivid and lurid and imaginatively depraved, is also
somewhat inarticulate, spraying its boilerplate discontent at no one in
particular, with a lotta standard-issue bitching about The Media and The
Man. At least the Spring Awakening crew had onstage clueless grown-ups to
rebel against. Of the two dudes who actually get off the couch (seriously,
the third one spends the whole rest of the show there, literally drinking
bong water, his girl and their newborn baby eventually fleeing in disgust),
Johnny (played by breakout SA star John Gallagher Jr.) gets hooked on drugs
and does the usual hooked-on-drugs stuff, while Tunny (the excellently named
Stark Sands) is enraptured by a charismatic, all-American, media-saturating
beefcake dude into joining the Armed Forces and heading off to the Middle
East, where he immediately loses his leg and does not-at-all-usual
lost-my-leg-in-the-Middle-East stuff-namely, a Peter Pan-style,
cable-assisted midair ballet tangle with a nurse who strips off her burka to
reveal Princess Jasmine's outfit from Disney's Aladdin. To the tune of
"Extraordinary Girl."

Like American Idiot's best moments, that part is just ludicrous enough to
not be disastrous. Johnny's arm-tying rubber-tube wrestling match with his
love interest, Whatshername (yes, really) also qualifies. The tunes (20 in
all, leaving almost no room for dialogue, though that's better for everyone
involved, too) work best as either full-cast shout-alongs (the pummeling,
angst-radiating "Holiday" is surprisingly great) or solo turns for Gallagher
Jr, who ably strums an acoustic guitar and makes the slower, cornier, more
maudlin stuff (welcome back, "Wake Me Up When September Ends") sing. But
anything in between, any tricky four-part-harmony stuff, crashes and burns.
These arena-punk songs aren't built that way; these particular singers, even
less so.

"Totally F*CKed" would have fit remarkably well into this show, too,
actually-the conclusion is super-bleak, our putative heroes choosing between
complete inertia and isolation, a prosthetic leg, or lovesickness and a
goddamn office job. A wanly ambiguous closing statement-"And that was that,
or so it seemed. Is this the end, or the beginning?"-can't hope to leaven
cynicism that absolute; nor can a post-curtain, full-cast,
19-acoustic-guitar encore of, you guessed it, "Good Riddance (Time of Your
Life)."

American Idiot is far from the debacle it might have been, but it ain't
that, either. Everyone and everything is out to get you, apparently, and
there's not much to be done about it except . . . cuss louder.
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#2
Posted: 4/20/10 at 7:52pm
Haha, lots of 'extra' *s in that Village Voice review! haha
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#3
Posted: 4/20/10 at 9:11pm
I love the Village Voice, their reviews of shows are normally so wrong and the polar opposite to what everyone says

Its looking good for the show so far and if they carry on like this we could be looking at the Tony Winner for best new musical


Boston Herold - Mixed
http://bostonherald.com/entertainment/arts_culture/view.bg?articleid=1248227&position=0

Backstage - Positive
http://www.backstage.com/bso/content_display/reviews/ny-theatre-reviews/e3i9d00b780a7553c214d519d7251bb3d2e

Chicago Tribune - Positive/Rave
http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/the_theater_loop/2010/04/american-idiot-green-day-broadway-review-punk-with-possibilities.html

AP - Positive
http://cbs5.com/wireapentertainment/Alienation.in.song.2.1645791.html

Hollywood Reporter - Mixed
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/film-reviews/american-idiot-theater-review-1004084466.story
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#4
Posted: 4/20/10 at 9:13pm
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#5
Posted: 4/20/10 at 9:38pm
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#6
Posted: 4/20/10 at 9:44pm
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#7
Posted: 4/20/10 at 9:52pm
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
Updated On: 4/20/10 at 09:52 PM
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#8
Posted: 4/20/10 at 11:09pm
Bloomberg - Mixed to Negative
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#9
Posted: 4/21/10 at 3:39am
SADM2 back on form
Updated On: 4/21/10 at 03:39 AM
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#10
Posted: 4/21/10 at 5:59am
Talking Broadway - Mixed to Positive
http://www.talkinbroadway.com/world/index.html
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#11
Posted: 4/21/10 at 6:01am
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#12
Posted: 4/21/10 at 11:24am
MamasDoin'Fine. are you going when in NY? also, can I call you MDF?

i hope you will be on line whilst there. I want to hear about your trip as you go. 'American Idiot' **Reviews**
"it's a dirty little war"
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#13
Posted: 4/21/10 at 11:28am
After hearing the album now it has climbed my list a little.
I always try to stay online when I'm on my travels, NY or elsewhere.

Call me what you like but MDF actually sounds very much like an cheap English furniture shop!
Updated On: 4/21/10 at 11:28 AM
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#14
Posted: 4/21/10 at 11:36am
Mama's Dreadful Furniture.
The reviews are looking promising, happy that I've found the album for £8.95 on Play.com! Not so happy that isn't released her until May...also not so happy that I have £1.54 in my bank account...so need to wait till Friday to splurge for this one!
THEATRE 2016: Grey Gardens; SwkPlayhouse, Cats; London Palladium, Into the Woods; Royal Exchange, Show Boat; Sheffield Crucible, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Prsicilla Queen of the Desert; UK Tour, Narrative; RWCMD, Mojo; RWCMD, The Barber of Seville; WNO, Rabbit Hole; Hampstead, The Marriage of Figaro; WNO, Figaro Gets a Divorce; WNO, Tom: The Musical; UK Tour Upcoming: Anything Can Happen; RWCMD, Cysgy'n Brys'ur, Long Day's Journey Into Night; Bristol Old Vic, Only the Brave, The Caretaker; The Old Vic, People Places and Things, Blue/Orange; Young Vic, Bernadette Peters, Carole King, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#15
Posted: 4/21/10 at 12:01pm
ha ha ha... i know it! MDF furniture. eeeek!

i like acronyms but that is not a good one i suppose.
"it's a dirty little war"
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'American Idiot' **Reviews**#16
Posted: 4/21/10 at 5:19pm
I'm interested in seeing this as I love American Idiot the album although I understand there are songs from 21st Century Breakdown.

Not sure if The St James Theatre is the best venue as it's quite big and I think a playhouse would be more suitable unless they have made changes to expand it.