Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ Earns 3 Tony Nominations

Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ Earns 3 Tony Nominations

American Idiot, the juke box musical featuring the songs of Green Day, picked up three 2010 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical.

In a vacuum, that’s pretty good. Green Day is a punk band still in its hey-day (more or less) meaning their loud, very un-Broadway-like tunes have yet to be softened by the sands of time.

However, due to Green Day status as uber-cool, many pundits (LA Times, NY Times, Entertainment Weekly, and Rolling Stone magazine) were hoping for more, like noms for director Michael Mayer, choreographer Steven Hoggett, and actors John Gallagher, Jr., Star Sands, Will Esper, and Tony Vincent.

American Idiot was banned from Best Score consideration because most of its music was not created specifically for the stage. Interestingly enough, Pete Townshend won a Tony for Best Original Score for Tommy… in 1993.

The Tony people probably parsed that rule a little too fine, but the end result is no Tony Awards for Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt.

American Idiot the musical draws from Green Day’s American Idiot the album, released in 2004. The musical, which cut its teeth at the Berkeley Rep, centers on disaffected suburban youth.

What a shock.

American Idiot is often compared to the 1996 musical, Rent (Tony Vincent played the roles of Roger and Mark in the Broadway production). Of course Rent had original music and therefore a more traditional Broadway vibe. While new and innovated, Rent was still more “inside” than the new and innovated American Idiot.

The show is a high energy with a thin premise and rather unlikable characters. Regardless, Mayer has infused the show with lots of passion and heart-pounding numbers.

While Green Day writes the soundtrack for the lives of angst-ridden teens, their songs (which are more pop than punk) are extremely catchy. They lend themselves to drama more than one would have assumed.

So while there’s some good and bad to American Idiot, the show has received mostly positive reviews (Time Out New York, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and the New York Times). The theatre critic for the Toronto Star called it the “first great musical of 21st Century.”

If you take everything into consideration, garnering three Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, is quite an achievement for this little show. Maybe it should have been nominated for more, but if it wins Best Musical, and many think it will, than isn’t that enough?

The St. James Theatre is selling American Idiot tickets. Curtain is up every night at 8pm except for Sunday and Tuesday when it rises at 7pm. Matinees are Saturday and Sunday at 2pm and Monday the theater is dark.

The show is a quick 90 minutes long and tackles rather matures subjects (and the “F” word is sung). So it’s definitely too adult for kids but it might be acceptable for some teens. Which is a good thing since most teenagers, especially the ones that belong to you, will want to see American Idiot because of Green Day’s music.

By the way, the Tony Awards will air live on CBS on June 13th. The show is being held in New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

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