Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump wound up under the same roof on opening night - without incident. Also: Whoopi Goldberg, Paul Rudd, Tony Kushner and Mark Harris, Edie Falco, T. R. Knight, Michael Urie, Jerry Dixon and Mario Cantone, Zachary Quinto, Camryn Manheim, Tamara Tunie, John Cameron Mitchell, Steven Pasquale, Steve Van Zandt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ana Gasteyer, Marian Seldes and Elizabeth Gilles.
Meet the first-nighters at the opening of Broadway's American Idiot, the new Green Day musical.
'Tis the season for another Spring Awakening from director Michael Mayer, so - fast-forwarding 120 years from that earlier late-1800s-set show - gangway for American Idiot, which laid siege April 20 to the St. James with huddled masses of alienated, disenfranchised youth writhing and Ritalin-ing with suburban anomie. From the look of the spectacular chaos that he has spilled across the stage, Mayer may be not entirely awake but just having a huge hallucinatory riff, brought on by overexposure to Green Day's 2004 concept album of the same name. It was his brainstorm to give the 13 songs of that cult hit (and a few more from the band's later release, "21st Century Breakdown," 2010's Grammy-winning Best Rock Album) an extended play on Broadway.
To that end, he got the band's lead singer and lyricist, Billie Joe Armstrong, to be a willing accomplice and collaborator in concocting what could loosely be called "a musical book" that connects the dots and songs into a narrative, a la Twyla Tharp's telling a Vietnam cavalcade using Billy Joel tunes.
This storyline triangulates into three guys, not unlike On the Town only with bleaker prospects and terrain. Johnny (John Gallagher, Jr.) and Tunny (Stark Sands) bolt from the 'burbs for fresher, more adventurous fields. Left behind is Will (Michael Esper), his fate sealed by a pregnant girlfriend (Mary Faber); booze and a bong send him sinking deeper into the couch.
Adrift in the big city, Johnny first hooks up with a comely Whatsername (Rebecca Naomi Jones) and then a drug dealer named St. Jimmy (Tony Vincent). Tunny tunes in to CNN too much and goes marching off to Iraq, where he meets a military nurse labeled The Extraordinary Girl (Christina Sajous).
A highly jazzed opening-night audience - obviously familiar with the record (it helps!) - cheered consistently at seeing the music visualized on such a grand scale, and then tumultuously at the end when the cast was joined for the curtain call by Mayer and the punk rock trio (bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool have asterisks in the song listing for lyrics not written by Armstrong).
The after-party at Roseland was a dark forest of hot-dog stands - a jungle of junk-food. Vodka-laced slushes welcomed revelers. On stage was a graffiti artist at work or play with paint for the duration of the event. All, presumably, signs of the times.
[Full article at Playbill.com]