Broadway Features and Reviews
From Berkeley to Broadway: Green Day's American Idiot
By Michael Andronico, Broadway Magazine
American Idiot is a stage interpretation of Green Day's 2004, Grammy-winning rock opera of the same name. Based on a multiplatinum record that Kerrang! magazine named album of the century, American Idiot takes the anthemic power-punk perfected by the California trio and unleashes it visually on the theatre masses. The production will arrive this Spring on Broadway.
Directed by Tony-award winning director Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening), American Idiot follows the lives of several working-class Americans and their experiences with love, struggle, and rebellion. "We were so impressed with [Spring Awakening], as well as his vision for American Idiot, that we knew we'd found the perfect collaborator," said Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong on working with Mayer.
The music selection spans the entire 60-minute record, in addition to some B-sides and tracks from their recent 21st Century Breakdown, which was released this past May. American Idiot stars Tony winner John Ghallager Jr. as Johnny, Tony Vincent as St. Jimmy, and Rebecca Naomi Jones as the fearless female Whatsername and features an on-stage band to help give chart-topping radio singles such as "American Idiot" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" a new, theatrical energy.
The musical made its theatre debut this past September at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in the band's home state of California. "They're an amazing theatre group, very adventurous, and their willingness to take chances is in keeping with the spirit of the album," said Armstrong. "The end result will be terrific, and we're really proud."
The rock-opera-gone-musical was met with an overwhelmingly positive response from critics. "Wildly entertaining... The music of Green Day practically blasts the lid off Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre...in a world premiere with Broadway aspirations written all over it," said the San Francisco Chronicle.
"Intensely directed from start to finish, the relentless adrenaline rush of the piece makes its rare moments of quiet hit home that much harder," said the Bay Area News Group. SFist.com also raved about the production, stating "The sets, lighting, video and projection design are all amazing, creating a huge, urban jungle gym of concrete platforms, flat-screen TVs, and ad-plastered walls that keep every scene visually alive."
American Idiot is a successful marriage of Grammy-winning, politically relevant music and the award-winning director and actors that bring it all to life on the stage. Critics and fans alike are in love with the production, which seems well on its way to New York City. After the alt-rock musical Passing Strange graduated from Berkeley Rep to Broadway in 2008, Green Day and Mayer's political epic follows an impressive Broadway trend of shows coming to Broadway from Berkeley.
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