American Idiot on Broadway

January 10, 2011
More by this author
American Idiot has opened my eyes to an attitude of music that I had never seen before in a Broadway show. The passion put into every word in every song was backed by amazing vocals and chaotic, but well-choreographed dance moves. American Idiot, Green Day’s seventh studio album, released in September 2004 was originally written as rock opera/ballad, similar to The Who’s Tommy. After years of collaboration between the band and the director of the stage version of this non-ethical musical, American Idiot opened on Broadway and became an instant success. Drawing crowds from older audiences who listened to Green Day’s past albums, such as Dookie, to younger audiences who are newly acquainted with Green Day’s sound from 21st Century Breakdown, their newest album.

The story follows the lives of three teenage guys stuck in a small suburban town who are dying to go to New York City to make something of themselves. The main character, Johnny buys bus tickets for him and his friends, Will and Tunny. As they are about to head off on their adventure, Will’s girlfriend breaks some bad news which forces him to stay home. His anger is powered by that feeling of being stuck and not being able to go anywhere. Johnny and Tunny make it to New York with an almost vengeful attitude. On their first night in the city, Tunny makes a life-changing decision based on a TV ad he sees. He leaves Johnny by himself in the city to pursue his own dreams. While in NYC, Johnny is forced to deal with a bad influence, his friend, and alter-ego St. Jimmy. Johnny gets involved with some seedy people, but meets a girl who keeps him grounded for some time, until St. Jimmy pushes Johnny farther and farther away from reality towards a false sense of security.

With the amazing vocals, strong dance moves, and legendary songs, what more could you ask for? How about a phenomenal set? The walls of the stage were covered in newspapers, and embedded with TV scenes, a window, and three doors, all on different levels. Scaffolding was used for platforms, stairs, and even an actually believable bus. This show was technologically fantastic as well, because an actor would video record the leads discreetly and what he was recording would directly link to the TVs on the walls. This show had an edgy look on teenage angst and feelings of being trapped. A theme of redemption reoccurred throughout the entire show, showing that everyone can be forgiven.

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Lilly_Cat said...
Feb. 14, 2014 at 12:24 am
Your article was really well written. I went to see American Idiot last April and it was the best day of my life. I still can't get over how amazing it was.
Site Feedback