Direct from Broadway, the smash-hit musical AMERICAN IDIOT tells the story of three lifelong friends, forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia. Their quest for true meaning in a post 9/11 world leads them on the most exhilarating theatrical journey of the season.
Based on Green Day’s GRAMMY® Award-winning multi-platinum album, AMERICAN IDIOT boldly takes the American musical where it’s never gone before. The result is an experience Charles Isherwood of The New York Times declares “thrilling, emotionally charged, and as moving as any Broadway musical I’ve seen this year!”
Featuring the hits “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “21 Guns,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “Holiday” and the blockbuster title track, AMERICAN IDIOT features the music of Green Day and the lyrics of its lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong, direction by Tony Award® winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening), choreography by Olivier Award winner Steven Hoggett (Black Watch), music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Kitt (Next to Normal), Tony Award® winning set design by Christine Jones and Tony Award® winning lighting design by Kevin Adams.
The show is a musical featuring the songs of Green Day’s American Idiot
The band Green Day will not be appearing in the cast or playing during the performance
The UK and Ireland production is featuring the US touring production and cast of American Idiot.
Show is in two acts and is approx 2 hours including interval.
The show contains adult themes and may not be suitable for a younger audience.
Mark Shenton review:
Critic Mark Shenton welcomes the UK arrival of the blazing rock opera based on the Green Day album that marks a red letter day for the modern musical.
American Idiot is a show of galvanising energy and theatrical excitement that’s like a 3D music video come to life. As New York Times critic Charles Isherwood declared in his review of its Broadway premiere, "Rage and love, those consuming emotions felt with a particularly acute pang in youth, all but burn up the stage in American Idiot, the thrillingly raucous and gorgeously wrought Broadway musical adapted from the blockbuster pop-punk album by Green Day."
The result is a true red letter day for musicals as well as rock music: suddenly the two forms don't clash but co-exist in the same restless, revolutionary show.
It's the single most exciting and original live rock musical I've ever seen. And it demands to be seen by anyone who wants to have their hearts stirred and their senses stunned.
Mark Shenton is theatre critic of The Sunday Express
Raving Reviews in from Canada
American Idiot **** (out of 4)
Book by Michael Mayer and Billie Joe Armstrong. Lyrics by Armstrong. Music by Green Day. Directed by Mayer. Until Jan. 15 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St. 416-644-3665.
You’d have to be an idiot to miss this one.
The touring company of American Idiot, which opened at the Toronto Centre for the Arts on Thursday night, courtesy of Dancap Productions, only strengthens the initial impression I had of this show 18 months ago, namely that it’s still the first great musical of the 21st century.
Take the haunting music of Green Day, the incisive lyrics of Billie Joe Armstrong and the superb staging of Michael Mayer, then combine them with the work of a mind-blowing design team and a cast with talent and commitment to burn.
The end result is not just one of the most exciting musicals you’ve ever seen but one of the most thought-provoking as well.
Inspired by the groundbreaking 2004 Green Day album of the same name, American Idiot looks at the youth of today and the world they inherited without asking for it.
Whether you want to call them “alienated,” “slackers,” “disillusioned” or “despairing,” you’ll get new insight from what you see on the stage.
Three young men (Johnny, Will and Tunny) live in the hollowness of suburbia and try to break out and find an answer to their lives. And by the way, my friend, don’t think that the word “American” in the title doesn’t mean these are the people on our own Canadian streets — mean or otherwise — as well.
This pain slashes wide and cuts deep. Johnny turns to hedonism, Will struggles with domesticity, Tunny goes to war and each, in his own way, tastes despair.
Some have their descent into hell hastened by heroin or booze, others by misguided patriotism, but they all eventually reach a personal ground zero.
Yes, Ground Zero. 9/11. The twin towers. Even though the work doesn’t mention those touchstones literally, you’ll never be able to listen to “Wake Me Up When September Ends” again without seeing the projections of flying paper reaching upwards, or the actors lying on the ground stretching their arms upward for salvation that never comes.
The whole production throws cliché out the window in search of a bigger truth and it finds it. Steven Hoggett’s choreography is not from the world of musical comedy, but the landscape of war, sex, urban violence and inner pain.
The Green Day score, brilliantly arranged by Tom Kitt and played with full passion by a dynamite six-piece, drives the show forward all night, but it’s the cast who hop on those metal wings and take flight.
Van Hughes holds the centre as Johnny, a Peter Pan with track marks, searching for a Neverland that he almost falls into forever. Witty, vulnerable, bitter and brilliant.
Jake Epstein’s Will nearly drowns in his pain, but keeps raising his unexpectedly sweet voice to show you he’s dreaming of a way out. Awesome stuff.
And Scott J. Campbell’s Tunny hurls thrilling defiance at the world until it breaks him and he discovers a new and gentle spirit that will break your heart.
Every last member of the cast makes you want to stand and cheer for them, and when the curtain fell, that’s just what the entire audience did.
You’re going to want to do the same.