April 11, 2010

So Young, So Angry

I love GreenDay's album American Idiot , so I approached the Broadway musical with trepidation. I was surprised that I liked the show because I found it to be a combination of Rent(love), Hair(dislike) and Spring Awakening(hate). Maybe because it was like being in a rock concert! I particularly enjoyed Tony winner Tom Kitt's orchestrations. I enjoyed the show's blaring music (interspersed with beautifully mellow ballads), compelling visuals, head-banging choreography and strong performances.
It is the story of 3 friends: Johnny (Tony winner John Gallagher, Jr. who oddly brought to mind Curtis Holbrook's Sonny Malone in Xanadu), Tunny (Stark Sands) and Will (Michael Esper). These stoners decide to leave suburbia for the big city. One ends up staying after his girlfriend gets pregnant; one joins the military post 9-11. One finds himself in a drug-addled state courtesy of St. Jimmy. Tony Vincent (who was excellent as Judas when I saw him in Jesus Christ Superstar) is perfect as the diabolical dealer.
The characters don't go through much of a story arc. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but why are these young adults so broken and embittered? Is this the state of the American youth by default? Why the need to disassociate from their parents' fates? If and when they come home, are they as disenchanted as when they left? (And on a sidenote, why was there flying onstage?)
The story seems to end rather abruptly. Perhaps there's just no tidy endings for slackers? Has the next generation relinquished the American Dream?

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