Review: “American Idiot” receives well deserved standing ovation

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The Actors’ Theatre cast of “American Idiot” during the curtain call

By: Jesse Shira – Collegiate Staff

Actors’ Theatre continued their 36th season this week as “Green Day’s American Idiot” opened to an almost full house.

Set after the initial invasion of Afghanistan in 2003, “American Idiot” is about three teens – Johnny, Tunny and Will – from suburban California. The focus is on the boys as they try to find a purpose in life. Johnny moves to New York and battles a drug addiction. Tunny enlists in the military and off he goes to war. Their friend Will ends up staying home in a drunken, depressed state after finding out his girlfriend is pregnant. The musical feels like a modern day opera, not relying on dialogue to carry the plot, but instead the music of Green Day, specifically from their 2004 album that inspired the musical.

When entering the lobby of the Spectrum Theater, there is an interesting display filled with political signs and videos showing compilations of news clips featuring the collapse of Wall Street, mass shootings, Black Lives Matter rallies, and election coverage from this unconventional year. This was done to give the audience a sense of uneasiness toward the establishment and put you in the mindset of the three protagonists.

The show opens with the titular song “American Idiot” and continues with a mix of music that ranges from fast paced songs like “Holiday” and “Favorite Son,” as well as some softer sounding music like “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams,” which is perhaps my favorite musical number in the show.

This show was brilliantly executed. Multiple times the cast jumps out from the stage and sings through the aisles, fully immersing the audience in the experience. The lighting design flowed smoothly and effectively used light and shadows to convey emotion to the audience. And I found the acting to be flawless across the board.

Covering sensitive topics like drug abuse, sex, and featuring lots of explicit language, I would not recommend this for the entire family. However, I believe that this is a fantastic piece of theatre that was excellently put together and is great entertainment for mature audiences.

“Green Day’s American Idiot” will run until Nov. 12 at the Spectrum Theater, 160 Fountain Street NE. Each performance begins at 8 p.m. and lasts roughly an hour and a half. Tickets cost $28 for adults, $22 for students and seniors, with a $10 student rush an hour before each performance.

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