Green Day's American Idiot Broadway Musical (Directed by Michael Mayer) Toronto Centre for the Arts, December 29
Published Dec 30, 2011Green Day return — somewhat — with their celebrated Broadway musical American Idiot, conceived from the 2004 concept album of the same name. The two-time Tony Award winning play launched its North American tour in Toronto to much enthusiasm from its diverse audience.
The musical chronicles the album in its entirety; additional tunes are added from follow-up album 21st Century Breakdown, unreleased track, "When It's Time", and the most popular graduation/wedding/bar mitzvah song in the world, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)," from Nimrod.
AI is performed as one-act based on the lives of three young friends who are dissatisfied with their lives in suburbia and embark on separate journey with disastrous outcomes. Johnny (Van Hughes) falls into a life of drugs, sex, and rock'n'roll where he meets "the antichrist" of the Jesus of Suburbia concept, St. Jimmy. Tunny (Scott J. Campbell) goes to war, and Will (Jake Epstein) stays behind with his pregnant girlfriend. The amalgamated structure of the play does not leave room for focus on any one story, mashing all onto the stage at once. This calls for a rather scattered plot and confusion as to what — if any — the moral is. It may be that we're all doomed, will become disenchanted, and most likely will fall into drugs ("Give Me Novacaine"), to much disappointment from lovers and family.
Aside from its gloomy narrative, the play is a flurry of excitement, with fantastic song/dance numbers. Van Hughes' acoustic "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" is a haunting rendition of the original, and the female sung "21 Guns" takes an interesting turn with an impressive dance number from Leslie McDonel. The story line and racy narrative is reminiscent of a nouveau, post 9/11 West Side Story with more sex, underwear, and appeal. However, American Idiot is crafted in a way that appeals to mass audiences while celebrating the success of one of the most adored and poignant pop punk albums of the decade.