What do we think of when we hear “musical theatre?” Tap-dancing, chorus lines, big cheesy songs and romantic happy endings? The modern rock-musical filled with angst and real-life drama? Andrew Lloyd Webber’s weird face? Probably at least one of those. Maybe all three.
We don’t usually think of ass-kicking, high-energy, pop-punk set in post-Grunge America featuring the music of the band of our tween years, do we?
Well, that’s exactly what “AMERICAN IDIOT: the Musical” is.
Cordwainer Productions is bringing the exciting punk-opera musical to the stage at Market Hall on December 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th and 10th and it’s absolutely breaks the mould and shatters all the expectations you might have about what a musical can, should and does look like – and that’s exactly why you should see it.
Featuring a soundtrack entirely of re-composed Green Day songs (all of the album ‘American Idiot’ and part of the album ‘21st Century Breakdown), written by Billy Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, and with orchestrations by the incredible Tom Kitt, ‘American Idiot’ is an 80 minute chaos-ride of awesome.
Set in the early 2000s, on the backdrop of the grunge of the 90s, American Idiot explores pre and post-9/11 Bush Administration America and the forgotten about youth struggling to find their identity in the vapid consumer culture of the time. Three boys – Johnny, Tunny, and Will – all seek to escape the small-town America they’ve been trapped in since birth.
On their journeys, they find themselves dealing with teenage pregnancy, addiction, and getting caught up in the military conflicts in the Middle East at the time. The musical explores addiction, relationships, abuse, anarchy, the American dream, 9/11, the punk subculture and what it’s like to grow up not being sure of exactly where you fit. While it’s set in the modern era, these themes are universal.
“But Dane,” you’re saying to the paper you’re holding (or screen you’re reading this on. Let’s be real. It’s 2015), not even caring about how you look to the public “isn’t the point of punk music not to sell out? Isn’t a musical exactly that?” Good question, reader! Stop talking out loud, and let’s break it down.
Punk music came about in the 70s and was about eschewing the pervasive mainstream rock styles of the time – something harder, edgier and that shirked the establishment.
“AMERICAN IDIOT: the Musical” not only stays true to its Green Day routes, but in doing so, totally undermines Broadway musicals at their core. Entirely music-centric, about stuff that Broadway almost never dares to talk acknowledge, the musical’s entire existence is subversive.
Maybe you’re not usually the type to go and see a theatre show, or maybe you’re into the high-art avant-garde. The cool thing about this musical is that it’s universal – we all know the songs because they were anthemic, blasted into our heads as pre-teens.
We all know what it’s like to grow up and want to be a little bit different. Hell, you go to Trent. And we all appreciate a good bit of #aesthetic – and this musical thrives on its aesthetic elements.
Get your tickets today – outside the OC Cafeteria from 12pm-4pm Monday to Friday until December 4th or at tickets.markethall.org – and don’t forget to stretch your neck. You’ll be banging your head along with us.