Combine Grammy-winning rock-n-roll with Tony-winning direction and you have the future of Broadway. American Idiot opened on April 20, and with it, some critics are saying, a new era of contemporary musical theater.
Based on Green Day's 2004 punk-rock opera album American Idiot, the staged production features 19 actors and 8 on-stage musicians. The band members themselves do not appear, but they worked closely with director and cowriter Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) in creating the new interpretation of their work, which features every song for the album, as well as a few from last year's release, 21st Century Breakdown (also a punk-rock opera). Singer, guitarist, and songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong even gave an unreleased tune to the production, "When It's Time."
American Idiot tells the story of a young, suburban Johnny who looks for more to life than the false safety of the suburbs. He heads to the city where he falls in love, encounters drugs, has his heart broken, and ends up back in the suburbs. Though no longer disillusioned, he still struggles to make sense of the post 9-11 world.
American Idiot is playing at the St. James Theatre, the same stage that hosted legendary rock-opera The Who's Tommy in 1993.