Punk music has blasted its way onto Broadway in the form of “American Idiot,” the Green Day-driven rock opera that opened at St. James Theatre on April 20.
Unsurprisingly, primary musical and lyrical credits for the production go to Green Day and band frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, with Tom Kitt overseeing music arrangements and Director Michael Mayer offering support on the book. “American Idiot” is based on the Green Day album of the same name, with additional songs from Green Day’s newer catalogue thrown into the mix for good measure.
The musical’s plot follows the big city exploits and insights of Johnny (John Gallagher Jr.), the battlefield-bound trajectory of Tunny (Stark Sands), and the small town plight of their friend Will (Michael Esper), who opts to stay in suburbia when he discovers his girlfriend is pregnant.
“American Idiot” debuted in September 2009 at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where it enjoyed a sold-out limited engagement with two extensions before closing in November. The production’s New York staging has also received high praise for its casting and aesthetic. But opening night reviews have legit critics split on whether the overall package is a Broadway misfit or the season’s biggest hit.
Since previews began on March 24, capacity at the 1,709-seat theatre has ranged from about 70 to 85 percent. Weekly box office receipts have been above the $450,000 mark, according to numbers from the Broadway League. Regular performance tickets are priced from $32 to $127, while premium seating options are available from $137 to $252 on select nights.
Evening performances run Tuesday and Sunday at 7 p.m., and Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Matinees are staged at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The sole exception to this schedule is Tuesday, June 8, when the performance will instead begin at 8 p.m.
St. James Theatre is located at 246 West 44th Street in New York, NY. “American Idiot” runs about 90 minutes without intermission and is booked into an open-ended run. Additional scheduling and ticketing details can be found on the production’s official Web site.
Opening Night: “American Idiot”
|Variety||Steve Suskin||“…the band and the orchestrations often drown out the lyrics and hamper the storytelling.”|
|New York Times||Charles Isherwood||“‘American Idiot,’ directed by Michael Mayer and performed with galvanizing intensity by a terrific cast, detonates a fierce aesthetic charge in this ho-hum Broadway season.”|
|USA Today||Elysa Gardner||“…the feel-good musical of the season.”|
|Hollywood Reporter||Frank Scheck||“Telling its story largely through music and movement with only a smattering of dialogue, ‘Idiot’ never manages to make us care about the fate of its thinly drawn characters.”|
|TheaterMania||Dan Bacalzo||“Green Day’s songs are what propel the narrative, and they are ingeniously employed, sometimes in rather unexpected ways.”|
|Washington Post||Peter Marks||“The 90 minutes make for such stimulating spectacle, I would happily sit through them again. And yet…’American Idiot’ comes across as ordinary.”|