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Thursday, September 10, 2009

"American Idiot" 

Last night, I went with my sister, her boyfriend, Graham, and Dick to see American Idiot at Berkeley Rep. (Great venue, by the way.)

If you're a regular reader of my blog (and it's okay if you're not) then you already know that I'm a huge Green Day fan.

The production of American Idiot that we saw last night is a stage musical adaptation of the album by the same name. It was directed by Michael Mayer, who was the director of the Tony-Award Winning Spring Awakening (which I loved).

Here's a great article about the show that was recently in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

..and another one from the SF Chronicle.

So, yes, it's the World Premiere of the show, and actually, it's still in Preview mode. The show actually opens next week, and is playing through the end of October. My sister and I have tickets to see it again at the end of the month - because we are just that geeky. :) As a bonus, that show will also have a "Post-show discussion" with cast/crew. I'm feeling like a bonafide groupie now.

So, my review:

Let's start by stating the obvious: I knew going in that I was going to love the music. Not only was I going to love it, but I already *knew* the music, which I think is also a plus when seeing a new show. I also had a semblance of an idea of the storyline - a very broad idea, but the over-all story, which also helps.

Really, the most important factor to me was that they played/sang/performed the music well, and they did. The cast was really spectacular - loads and loads of talent. Especially noteworthy to me were the leads of Johnny (the actor had won a Tony award for Spring Awakening) and St. Jimmy (loved him!).

The set was fantastic - minimal, and affective. I also liked the way they incorporated the band into the set (like the violinist who was perched way up high on the scaffolding).

The story - like I said, I had an idea of the very broad plot, which granted, isn't very deep. (and I'm okay with that). One thing that I appreciated was that they separated the main character in the album to be three main characters in the play, which I thought worked quite well. Gave the story more dimension.

The others that I went with felt the story was lacking, but more importantly, that they didn't feel a connection with the characters. I don't disagree with them, but it didn't bother me nearly as much. Whereas Hair was targeted at the Hippie Generation (and I'll admit I haven't seen it), Rent was targeted at Gen X (hello! Raises hand!), this story is centered around Gen Y. I'm not sure if it's that we, of an older generation, can't relate to them, or if it's just too hard to care for these characters.

As I said earlier, they're still in Previews, and may still be ironing out some kinks. I'll be curious to see how and if the show evolves much when I see it again at the end of the month.

My general feeling after seeing the whole production is that it was a cool mix of Rent and Spring Awakening, both of which I loved. Plus, it's Green Day music! What's not to love? If you liked either (or both) of those shows, I'd recommend this one. Or, if you're a Green Day fan... Or, BOTH!

Here's a short video of Green Day talking about American Idiot
on Access Hollywood.

This image was projected on the side of the wall outside the theater

The Idiot Cocktail sign cracked me up

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