Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Show Review: American Idiot

I had to laugh reading the comments on my last post, as it was kindly pointed out to me that I mentioned what I did before the show and who I saw after the show, but never really mentioned what I thought about the show itself.  I think that's a product of living in New Jersey, where one of the perks (and it's a big one, almost balances out having the country's highest property taxes and insurance rates) is living close enough to New York City (2-3 hours, depending on traffic) and Philadelphia (just over an hour) to go there pretty much... anytime.  So we do have access to some pretty incredible stuff, Broadway included.  And since chances are that people you know will see what you saw, you learn not to give too much away.  And since we've been involved in theater since we were kids and have seen a lot of Bway shows, I know my opinion is sometimes a little too... opinionated.
But, ok, the show. :)  It was fun.  It basically was the album played through (a few songs added) with a little bit of dialogue between songs.  When they closed Les Mis and then revived it, the revival was much shorter than the original - they had shortened songs, cut out transition music, axed a lot of dialogue - and it decimated the show (so did Daphne Rubin-Vega as Fantine, but that's a whole other story).  So, actually, when they played the first few songs pretty much back-to-back without much dialogue (all basically teen angst), I wondered if this was going to be the same kind of thing, and was thinking that if people don't already know the music, they won't have any idea what's going on because it's fast and the words kind of run together.  But the story did grow through the show as it progressed, so... redeemed!

So... what is it about?  If you know the album, you have probably pretty much worked it out, since it was written as a concept album.  It's about three friends coming of age.  They have a band and they plan to leave their small town and take on the world.  One's dream gets cut short (Will) when his girlfriend gets pregnant and he stays home, drunk and depressed.  One (Tunny) gets disillusioned with the music scene and joins the army, gets injured in battle, falls in love with his nurse.  The other (Johnny), bitter at his second friend for abandoning him, tries to stick with music but is not very successful.  Gets sucked into drugs, falls in love, then has to choose one over the other.  The storyline follows the three through their choices and figuring out who they are.

The cast was amazing.  There are three main male leads, and they were all very good.  Stark Sands (Tunny) enunciated like a good Broadway actor (lol) but it was a little awkward in the punk music.  Still, his voice was amazing.  John Gallagher, Jr. (Johnny) was the original Moritz in Spring Awakening, and I had Spring Awakening flashbacks through those first few songs until the story began and he became more the character.
There was also another Spring Awakening guy in the cast, Brian Charles Johnson, but I didn't notice him until HH pointed him out.  I recognized Rebecca Naomi Jones (Whatsername/Johnny's love interest) but couldn't place what I knew her from, looking at her bio, maybe Fringe.  And then there was Tony Vincent.  Ahhh, Tony Vincent.  Just feast your eyes.
Totally fell in love with him as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar.  Bought the dvd even though he wasn't Judas in that one (he was a smaller role).  So wishing they would bring Queen's musical We Will Rock You over here (it's in London's West End), since Queen is my favorite group and Tony Vincent was Galileo Figaro in the show.  Oh... heaven.  :)  In this show, he's St. Jimmy, basically the drug dealer/dark side of Johnny.
Yoiks! Lol.  This role didn't showcase his voice, since it was more a creepy druggie kind of thing, but still.  Tony Vincent.  He was awesome.

Overall, if you're not familiar with Green Day, this might not be the show for you, because I felt that it helped a lot to know the music beforehand.  Also, if you don't get to Broadway very often, you might want to stick with something more of the big, showy musical like Phantom, to get that experience.  But that's not to say it wasn't a great show.  If it's your kind of music, and you're not looking for the big, majestic Les Mis or Miss Saigon story (it's not meant to be that, the scenery remains basically the same and there aren't a lot of costume changes), if you want a great, loud, punk rock show experience, it's totally the show for you.  (Oh, and bonus, Green Day fans - the American Idiot album is awesome by itself, but they also throw in 21 Guns and Time of Your Life. Woo!)


Alleged Author said...

That is cool. I love Broadway shows, but also think it's great when something like this comes along. Will have to look up info to see if it's coming to L.A.

Old Kitty said...

As I'm so unfamiliar with Green Day - I am none the wiser - but I just like that you had a great time. I too adore big brash musicals but sometimes the smaller, less showy ones are just as spectacular!

take care

Ghenet said...

Great review! I love theater (especially musical theater) and since I live in NYC, I try to see Broadway shows often. This sounds like it would be good, so if some cheap tickets came along, I'd definitely check it out.

Slamdunk said...

Sounds like something the Mrs. would enjoy.

Ben Burleigh said...

A broadway experience might actually give me a new appreciation. Sounds intriguing :)


Ben Burleigh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Powdered Toast Man said...

I'm jealous. I'm a big Green Day fan. I have been since elementary school. I just got Green Day Rock Band. I want to go to the show.

Kristin Rae said...

A feast for the eyes indeed!