Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Green Day’s “American Idiot”, with music by Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong and a book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer based on the conceptual album of the same name, landed with a bang at the Broward Performing Arts Center in Fort Lauderdale last night where it will be playing until April 6.
We meet boyhood friends Johnny (Jared Nepute), Will (Casey O’Farrell) and Tunny (Dan Tracy) on the cusp of manhood, bored with suburbia and make a pact to move to the big city. At the last minute Will’s girlfriend Heather (Mariah MacFarlane) tells him she is pregnant and he decides to stay home. Tunny who doesn’t fit in with urban living enlists in the army serving in Afghanistan where, when wounded, he meets The Extraordinary Girl (Taylor Jones). Johnny finds two loves in the city, one being heavy drugs after a figment of his imagination brings forth a drug dealer St. Jimmy (Carson Higgins) which in turn leads to a true love of Whatshername (Olivia Puckett).
The roots of “American Idiot” can be found in “Hair” and “Rent” with each representing a generation, their music and their general sense of being lost. “American Idiot” is referred to as a 90 minute punk opera which first came out in album form in 2004 and made it to the Broadway stage in 2010.
With a hard working cast, ensemble and band on stage of 22 people plus the magic of Tony Award winners scenic designer Christine Jones and lighting designer Kevin Adams plus the choreography of Steven Hoggett and director Michael Mayer “American Idiot” captures the time. place and music of a generation.
Upon entering the theatre people of a certain age (mine!) are offered ear plugs which I didn’t have to use but they should have offered sunglasses as there is an overabundance of strobe light use directed straight at the audience.