Staffer reviews production of “American Idiot,” musical based on Green Day album of same name

I’m not a professional theatre critic or anything, but I think my qualification as a deeply committed Green Day fan should count for something. When I first heard Green Day’s “American Idiot” had been turned into a Broadway musical, I was skeptical. How could two completely different things be combined without one of them being totally ruined?

The second I stepped into the lobby, I could tell it was going to be a hit or a miss. Waiting to go inside the theatre, you had your grungy, punk-style Green Day fans in their skinny jeans and plaid, and then you had your nice theatre-goers in suits and heels.

Both groups were unsure of what to expect.

The Green Day fans were wondering if the musical would completely destroy Green Day, and the theatre-goers were wondering if something like Green Day could even be turned into a suitable musical production. With the first song, “American Idiot,” everyone knew what they were in for. Green Day fans were used to the blunt, inappropriate language of Green Day, but the theatre-goers were not. Both the “American Idiot” musical and album contain lots of sexual references, swearing, and drugs. It’s definitely not the classic family musical. The dialogues are also very short, and most of the show consists of the performance of songs.

The musical tells the story of three young men — Johnny, Will, and Tunny. Johnny and Tunny leave the suburban lifestyle. Tunny joins the military and is shipped off to war, and Johnny gets addicted to drugs, meets the girl of his dreams and then loses her. Will stays in the suburbs with his pregnant girlfriend to try and figure out the relationship between them. In the end, all three come home and reunite once again, but they have all been through a lot.

“American Idiot” is not necessarily anything life-changing, but it is a reminder of the need to escape the dull, ensnaring events of everyday life.


Song List

American Idiot” – Company

Jesus of Suburbia” (Johnny and Will), “City of the Damned” (Tunny, Johnny, Will and Company), “I Don’t Care” (Johnny, Will, Tunny and Company), “Dearly Beloved”  (Heather and Men), “Tales of Another Broken Home”  (Johnny, Will, Tunny, Heather and Company)

Holiday” – Johnny, Tunny, Theo and Company

Boulevard of Broken Dreams” – Johnny, Whatsername, Tunny and Men

“Favorite Son” – Favorite Son and Women

“Are We the Waiting” – Tunny, Favorite Son and Company

“St. Jimmy” – Johnny, Miguel, Declan, Theo, St. Jimmy and Company

“Give Me Novacaine” – Will, Tunny and Company

Last of the American Girls/She’s a Rebel” – Johnny, Whatsername, Gerard, Chase, St. Jimmy and Company

“Last Night on Earth” – St. Jimmy, Whatsername, Heather and Company

“Too Much Too Soon” – Theo, Alysha, Will and Heather

“Before the Lobotomy” – Tunny, Joshua, Ben and Chase

“Extraordinary Girl” – Extraordinary Girl, Tunny and Company

“Before the Lobotomy (Reprise)” – Tunny, Joshua, Ben and Chase

When It’s Time” – Johnny

Know Your Enemy” – St. Jimmy, Will, Johnny and Company

21 Guns” – Whatsername, Extraordinary Girl, Heather, Tunny, Johnny, Will and Company

“Letterbomb” – Whatsername and Women

Wake Me Up When September Ends” – Johnny, Will, Tunny and Company


“The Death of St. Jimmy” (St. Jimmy and Johnny), “East 12th St.” (Johnny, Theo, Gerard and Company), “Nobody Likes You”  (Will and Company), “Rock and Roll Girlfriend” (Miguel, Heather, Will and Company), “We’re Coming Home Again” (Johnny, Tunny, Will and Company)

“Whatsername” – Johnny and Company

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” – Company