Wednesday, March 30, 2011

American Idiot on Broadway

At the end of February I went with Ross and Kristy for a whirlwind 17-hour New York City adventure for the sole purpose of seeing American Idiot on Broadway at the St. James Theater. Kristy bought the tickets when it was announced that Billie Joe Armstrong would be reprising his role as St. Jimmy. Kristy's cat is named St. Jimmy. So basically, there's a little Green Day love in this group...

I had no intention of ever seeing it for the main reason that I love great covers, but I've never heard a Green Day I enjoyed. I think New Found Glory once attempted a Green Day cover set at the Hoodwink Festival and I may have cried when I watched the videos. BUT, because Billie Joe would be singing (some) of the songs, I decided it was tolerable, and that if this "musical" was really out there in the world, I'd be happy to have seen it and know what it looked it.
The story line is basically what the album version is, just laid out with a tiny bit of dialogue and a few extra songs. Every song from American Idiot is in the play in addition to "Favorite Son," "Too Much Too Soon," "21 Guns," "Before The Lobotomy," "Last Night on Earth," and "Time of Your Life." I have to say that the band did a pretty good job. The guy who played the piano or keyboard parts was a little too excited for my liking. You're playing a keyboard dude. Just shut the hell up and stroke the keys, seriously.

The set was pretty rad. Previously I've enjoyed sets more than the actual play, see: Ragtime. But this set was pretty cool with a wall of tvs and creative props that came flying in and out. I think they did a really good job of framing the story.

Billie Joe Armstrong could probably land gigs left and right on broadway if he wanted. As the angsty teenager version of himself, no way, but as the well rounded, musically talented, confident person he's become, he's quite good at performing. We've seen that time and time again when he can control a crowd of 20,000+ people. It seemed like a natural fit, him wanting to perform and eye-liner being involved.

As as a Green Day fan, I think it was great. Had I seen the show and the role of St. Jimmy was played by Melissa Etheridge, I would have thrown glass bottles and demanded my money back. Additionally, I think I would have been less pleased if it was just the original cast - all of whom were fantastic, just probably not for me in this particular instance.