“American Idiot,” the 2010 Broadway hit musical — the first punk rock opera, really — now at the Hippodrome, paints a searing portrait of restless, reckless youth, with all the sex, drugs and violence you’d expect from a disaffected generation.
That the show also manages to be entertaining and exhilarating just bumps up the cool factor, which is already considerable, given that the music is by the popular band Green Day and drawn from the 2004 album “American Idiot.”
Front man Billie Joe Armstrong collaborated on the book with Maryland native Michael Mayer, who directs the production with the same dynamic touch he brought to another hit musical about young angst, “Spring Awakening.”
The unfocused “kids of war and peace” in “American Idiot,” kids who are “born and raised by hypocrites,” can’t stand the make-believe world of suburbia where they feel trapped. They’re determined to get to the big city, even if they have no idea what to do there or where their lives ought to be headed.
These guys don’t need reasons, goals, commitments. They just need something new. Their motto: “I don’t care if you don’t care.”
We’ve seen these types before. They’re descendants of the cause-less rebels from 1950s movies and the perennial protesters of the ’60s. They’re just a little more abrasive. And louder.
“American Idiot” crackles with energy from the moment the curtain rises on Christine Jones’ striking set, dominated by a menacing wall pocked with TV monitors (video/projection designer Darrell Maloney’s contributions provide a clever, often subtle touch throughout).
With little spoken dialogue, the show is propelled by two dozen or so songs that, in the space of 90 minutes, manage to trace a clear narrative.
At the center of the action is Johnny (Alex Nee), who plans to break out of the rut with his two buddies. Will (Casey O’Farrell) is gung ho, but his girlfriend’s unexpected pregnancy causes him to back out — not that he is going to turn responsible and sensitive all of a sudden.
Read the full review at Baltimore Sun: HERE