The ‘American Idiot’ rock opera rolled into Detroit on Tuesday at the Detroit Opera House
The ground-breaking musical is an intermission-free, 90-minute ride through the lives of three teenage boys who are dealing with life in a post-911 world told through the music of alternative rock band Green Day with the lyrics of its lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong.
The book is by Armstrong and Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) and is directed by Mayer.
‘ American Idiot ‘ explores the themes of love, sex, drugs and alienation through the boys’ search for meaning in their lives and the lives of those around them.
Two of them, Johnny and Tunny (Van Hughes and Scott J. Campbell) set out for the big city while Will (Jake Epstein) stays back home with his pregnant girlfriend.
While Johnny falls in love and gets caught up in the drug scene, Tunny joins the military and is shipped off to Afghanistan while Will fails miserably as a boyfriend and father.
‘ American Idiot ‘ features the hits “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, “Wake Me Up When September Ends”, “Holiday” and the blockbuster title track “American Idiot” from Green Day’s 2004 American Idiot album.
Also included in the score are several songs from Green Day’s 2009 release 21st Century Breakdown and an unreleased love song.
The Tony-nominated show opened on Broadway in March 2010 and played for just over a year to critical praise including being nominated for three Tony awards and winning the Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.
Tuesday’s opening night show certainly seemed to impress the packed crowd gathered at the Detroit Opera House .
Although the show could have perhaps used a bit more dialogue for those unfamiliar with the album and story, the production more than lived up to its reputation as the “first great musical of the 21st Century”.
The show’s superb staging and haunting music created a thought-provoking hour and a half that left those in attendance buzzing afterwards.
The show is staged by a impressive six-piece band whose who help drive the show as it moves along.
The ‘ American Idiot ‘ three leads’ passion is obvious throughout the show and kept those in attendance rooting for them until the second the curtain went down.
Van Hughes’ Johnny is the center of the musical and his ability to convey his character’s vulnerability and bitterness was a highlight of the evening.
The musical will be playing at the Detroit Opera House until January 22.
Tickets for the Detroit engagement range from $25-$75 and are onsale at the Fisher Theatre box office and all Ticketmaster locations.