The Bushnell, Hartford, CT
through March 3, 2013
by Eric Sutter
"American Idiot" is an electric blue of snarling fun. Featuring the music of Green Day and lyrics of its lead singer Billy Joe Armstrong makes this show a must see.
The cast is bombarded by T.V. broadcasts of bad news from their post 9-11 world from which they scream out their frustration in the title song. This bold new musical tells the story of three life-long friends -- Johnny (Alex Nee), Tunny (Thomas Hettrick) and Will (Casey O'Farrell) -- who are forced to choose between their city dreams and the safety of suburbia. Strong language and gestures color the action when needed, particularly effective in "I Don't Care," simulating choreographed fight scenes. Craving fun, the trio plan to move to the big city. It's a bust when Will's girlfriend turns up pregnant. Johnny turns to drugs and his alter-ego St. Jimmy to search for meaning.
The spark ignites with durable songs "Holiday" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" which weave emotion and develop the story with hologram images of New York City projected over the set. The love scene "Give Me Novocaine" is splintered by wild dance in "Last of the American Girls/She's A Rebel." "Extraordinary Girl" find Jenna Rubaii descending from the ceiling on wires, singing like an angel. In another scene, hooded sweat-shirted dancers punk out "Do You Know Your Enemy?" "21 Guns" involves the entire company in disjointed harmony. "Wake Me When September Comes," with Johnny on acoustic guitar, adds a nice touch for a moment of reflection. Great rock harmony builds the show to a head banger crescendo in "Rock and Roll Girlfriend." The troupe reunion "We're Coming Home Again" is the perfect finale.
Quick costume changes, fantastic lighting, and spontaneous choreography make for a very fast joyride of intense cutting edge musical theatre.