The two-time Tony Award-winning Broadway smash AMERICAN IDIOT is not a groundbreaking musical– unless you’re 16. So bring your teenagers and leave grandma home– she’ll either be bored or blow out her hearing aids. For us inter-generational types, AMERICAN IDIOT is an entertaining if not inspiring musical; after all, we’ve seen HAIR, TOMMY, RENT. But this production now onstage at Boston’s Opera House has several things going for it.
ONE–it’s very well played. This tale of three boyhood friends trying to find their way in a “f—-d up” world stars an exceptional cast (led by original Broadway cast member Van Hughes) with remarkably dynamic voices and energy to burn to capture the anger, hope, and restlessness of disaffected youth.
TWO– the music is REAL, not some ersatz theatrical equivalent of Rock n’ Roll, but some of the Rock world’s finest anthems and ballads by GREEN DAY, lyrics by lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong. You already know these songs as hits–in addition to the title track AMERICAN IDIOT, there’s the haunting “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “Holiday,” the mournful “Wake Me Up When September Ends” set against an apocalyptic tableau of light and sound, paper and bodies falling from the sky on 9/11.
THREE: It’s compact. With a clever low tech/high tech set that looks like a garage covered with flashing video screens, the set moves us seamlessly from the bedroom to the battlefield and back home again, without interruption. It’s also short–90 minutes, straight through, no intermission.
And you only have a few more minutes to see it– AMERICAN IDIOT is onstage at The Boston Opera House just until Sunday January 29th!
Have a GREEN DAY.