Friday, April 23, 2010

Time of Your Life

Green Day’s American Idiot the musical is one of the great masterpieces of modern theatre ever created. This past Monday night I attended the last night of previews of the new Broadway musical American Idiot. It was the night before their opening and the St. James Theatre was buzzing from wall to wall. The theatre was sold out and the audience was ready to experience something like they have never seen before. A new rock era arrived on stage as soon as the curtains rose with the TV's running wild and that 1st line was blasted out "Don't want to be an American Idiot!"

This was my second time seeing the piece created by the Broadway genius of the 21 century Michael Mayer. I traveled up to Berkeley last fall to see the world premiere of American Idiot and fell in love with Green Day and this creative team all over again. How did this show come to be you might ask? Well, Michael Mayer had the idea about turning the 2004 hit album into a musical just from listening to the record and seeing the story unfold before him in his mind. He asked Green Day to visit Broadway to see Spring Awakening, Mayer’s last project and Tony Award winning musical. The band fell in love with his work and signed on to work alongside Mayer on bringing American Idiot to life. With a successful three times extended run in Berkeley the team knew they had a hit and the transfer to Broadway only seemed natural.

The show follows three boys as they venture out into the world to find themselves and their meaning in life. The Broadway production did change a bit from the Berkeley run but all the changes did nothing but enhance the show. One note I made about seeing the piece up at Berkeley was that there were holes in the storyline. The majority of the story is told through song with short dialogue in the form of letters back home from the main character Johnny (played by Tony Award winning John Gallagher Jr.). They rearranged some of these dialogue breaks and added in a couple of new songs that cleared up the piece and helped it flow better. The talented John Gallagher Jr. really carries the show and helps narrates the piece with as little as a sentence of dialogue to a facial expression which speaks louder than words. The new production brought in Stark Sands as Tunny who is conflicted with his life and joins the army. Sands performance of Tunny won me over and when we sang one of my favorite songs from the American Idiot album the hauntingly beautiful Are We The Waiting he gave me chills. I spoke with ensemble member Miguel Cervantes who told me they had cut his piece as the rock n roll boyfriend from the piece for Broadway production but had re-added it at the last minute which made me really happy to see it left in.

Like I said the first time I saw the show the cast is what makes the piece shine. From Gerard Canonico’s rage on stage to Joshua Henry’s hot body and rockin voice that makes the girls go wild, to Rebecca Naomi Jones passion and vulnerability as Whatsername, these cast members are perfect at each and every turn. The person who steals the spotlight through is Tony Vincent as St. Jimmy. Vincent piercing rocker voice alongside Gallagher during St. Jimmy number blew my mind. The audience clapped for about two minutes straight before the cast could continue with the show after the St. Jimmy number.

Overall I LOVE this show and really wish I could see it again and again! The reviews are pouring in since the show opened on Tuesday and they have been great! The cast recording has been released and is currently number 3 on the itunes charts!
If you want to see a performance from the show then set your DDR/ Tivo for Monday April 26th for Regis and Kelly where
the Boys from American Idiot will perform Wake Me Up When September Ends as part of their Broadway week.

Last but not least watch my Video interview from the afternoon of Opening Night with Brian Charles Johnson and Ben Thompson.

For my past review of the Berkley run click below:

Part 1 Road to the show

Part 2 American Idiot review

Part 3 Meeting the cast

"Time of Your Life"-song from American Idiot

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