When I first heard that the rock band Green Day was putting together a Broadway musical, based almost entirely on their album “American Idiot” from 2004, I’ll admit that I was skeptical. It wasn’t until I started hearing from friends who’d seen the rock musical that I became cautiously intrigued.
Having now seen the show first-hand, I can say that both my skepticism and my excitement were warranted. It was both awful and terrific, depending on what you’re looking for.
As a Broadway play, even a musical, American Idiot is a complete failure. There’s a story buried in there somewhere, in theory, but I couldn’t pick it out to save my life. And I even read the Wikipedia summary awhile back to get a preview of the story — still, I was completely unable to follow it during the 90-minute single act.
Having said that, I’ll quickly follow that criticism with glowing praise. American Idiot is the most fun I’ve had in a Broadway theatre in quite awhile. The music is beautifully played, and the actors are entertaining and dazzling. I may not really have been able to string together the scenes into an effective storyline, but I don’t care; it was mesmerizing to watch each scene unfold.
The choreography was [usually] great to watch as well. There were a couple of scenes where choreography seemed far too much like classic “Broadway musical” and not enough “alt-punk rocker” but those are forgivable. All in all, the dancing conveyed the frantic energy that you’d expect to see from a Green Day musical, and certainly helped fuel my near-constant head bobbing and knee drumming.
Essentially, American Idiot is a non-stop hour-and-half-long music video. It’s fun, flashy, and completely infectious. It’s a lot of fun, and definitely worth your time and money if you’re a fan of the music. (I wouldn’t necessarily recommend paying top dollar for amazing seats, though; I sat in the nose-bleed section of the balcony at the St. James Theatre and still had a fantastic time.)
Green Day fans, go see this show and shut your brain off for awhile. American Idiot probably won’t change your life, but it’ll absolutely make your day.