It wasn’t that long ago, when I was first witness to Green Day’s “American Idiot” (February, 2012) and at that time, I gave it three stars, but this new production, although filled with great voices, does not have the same quality of production , so I could not give it a higher rating. Yes, there is some solid talent, and lots of glitzy lights, but despite the music of Green Day, the story does not come out as well as it did last time. This might be due to the extra volume and the flashing lights, but it was hard to concentrate on the story.
The story is that of three boyhood friends, each searching for their identity and meaning of life ( in a post 9/11 world), a sort of “coming of age” story. One chooses to seek a life on the stage as a musical performer, one into the military and the other, who had planned to go as well, stays home with his pregnant girlfriend to become a “family man”. What we witness is what takes place during this year , mostly told by the music(21 plus songs). The “book” by Michael Mayer and Billie Joe Armstrong, is really not so much as a “book” but a way of linking the songs to make a story. Directed by Mayer and choreographed by Steven Hoggett ( a lot of head shaking going on) gets this 90 minute ( no intermission) moving quickly and there are many moments of spectacle with flying around, tv monitors ablaze with news stories and other items, and light flashing- oh, my God, are there light flashing!
Yes, this is a “rock musical” , but unlike “Rent” it’s story is not as sustainable or believable. This on is “cult-like” as well with many of the younger audiences screaming at just the right time. While they may have enjoyed hearing their music, the story is confusing and the “F” word used far more than it needed to be. This story, if told with the music and some better dialogue could be one that would make sense to the younger people, and perhaps would help them in making some of the “choices in life” that they are faced with as they reach maturity.
The ensemble is very energetic and the lead singers, Alex Nee, Thomas Hettrick,Casey O’Farrell, Alyssa DiPalma, Jenna Rubaii, Kennedy Caughell and Trent Saunders all have remarkable voices and range. This production is flashy, bright and loud and for many might be a great experience, but I for one would call it a concert with flashy lights and spectacle and to be honest, could be done as such without the story and no one would really care. There is no happy ending, just Green Day’s music performed by some solid singers.
This run is a short one, one week at The Cadillac Palace Theatre with performances as follows:
Wednesday, 4/17 at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, 4/18 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, 4/19 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays, 4/20 at 2 and 8 p.m.
Sunday , 4/21 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets range in price from $18-$85 so at least it is affordable for the younger folk ( but I would have to rate this as PG17) and can be purchased at any of the Broadway In Chicago box offices, by phone at 800-775-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com
The Cadillac Palace Theatre is located at 151 W. Randolph Street. By the way, if you go online to BIC, you can purchase discount parking as well.
To see what others say, visit www.theatreinchicago.com
go to Review Round-up and click on “American Idiot”