"American Idiot" (Broadway in Chicago): 20something's Ultramodern, Unruly, Funky Rock Opera!

"American Idiot" (Broadway in Chicago):  20something's Ultramodern, Unruly, Funky Rock Opera!

#28. The show starts loud and angry.  Music blaring.  Televisions glaring.  20somethings raring.

Don’t want to be an American idiot.  One nation controlled by the media.  Information age of hysteria.  It’s calling out to idiot America.

Broadway in Chicago presents Green Day’s AMERICAN IDIOT.  Three childhood friends are having trouble getting off the couch.  They enjoy a 20something existence of sh#t talking, cigarette smoking, blah blah blah.  Life happens.  They separate. One goes paternal.  One goes military.  One goes pharmaceutical.  They struggle for individual meaning on their paths of destruction.  AMERICAN IDIOT is Green Day’s rock opera about identity.      

Green Day’s lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong teamed up with Michael Mayer to create one long, poignant music video.  Armstrong and Mayer organize Green Day’s songs into a holistic story.  The results are more rock concert than musical but it reaches a younger generation the way Rodgers & Hammerstein can’t. The lyrics are gritty and real.  It’s about actual growing pains.  ‘Tell me I won’t feel a thing so give me Novocain.‘  As a 40something, I remember my youth rebellion.  My friends and I taking on the establishment.  But this younger generation rage is more intense.  Their torment not easily fixed. ‘Too much, too soon, sucks to be you.‘ Green Day songs are these head nodding, fist punching, mind sliding melodies of liberation.  The talented cast sings like zealots at war.  The music is cranked up full-volume passion!

And the dancing continues the protest.  Choreographer Steven Hoggett has created a mesmerizing, electrifying visual.  One reoccurring movement is a standing prostration.  The cast repeatedly bows down…to oppression? In pain? out of fatigue? to shut off the noise?  It’s powerful!   The stage is maxed out with this synchronized demonstration.  Costume Designer Andrea Lauer adds a colorful, generational identifier.  The hipster cast wear hoodies, pocket chains and tattoos.  It’s not Footloose flashy or Nirvana grunge, it’s Green Day somewhere-in-between. The music, the movement and the mania defy the ‘I don’t care‘ lyrics.  Who are these 20somethings? They are a generation of sensitive individuals redefining ‘What’s worth fighting for?’                 

The show ends soft and unified. Guitars strumming.  Voices humming.  20somethings coming to their own life conclusion.  

It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right. I hope you’ve had the time of your life 

AMERICAN IDIOT is targeted to 20somethings and the people who want to understand their generation.  Be warned: it’s rock concert loud which made a couple 70somethings in our row leave after the third song.   

Going home and spotifying the songs, 20something Maria describes it with ‘ultramodern, unruly, funky.’

Running Time:  One hour and forty minutes with no intermission

At Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph

Features music by Green Day

Book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer

Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong

Directed by MIchael Mayer

Musical direction by Tom Kitt

February 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th at 7:30pm

February 11th and 18th at 8pm

February 11th, 12th, 15th, 18th, 19th at 2pm

Buy Tickets at www.broadwayinchicago.com

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