Majestic Rep's 'American Idiot' turns youthful angst into intoxicating entertainment ★★★★
★★★★☆ - Delicious
As we mark the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks that shocked and altered the collective American consciousness, Majestic Repertory Theatre gives a gritty, high-energy presentation of Green Day's 2009 punk-rock opera "American Idiot." Frontman and lyricist Billie Joe Armstrong, with book co- writer Michael May, expanded upon the band's 2004 concept album of the same name and their 2009 album "21st Century Breakdown" to create the musical, which features alienated youth who flee mind-numbing suburbia hoping to find individuality and excitement in the big city. It explores post 9/11 youthful anger and indignation at George W. Bush and the Iraq War, and rails against the media manipulation of the public that blurs reality with sensationalism.
History always repeats itself, so at the top of the show Director Troy Heard has actors take their places while walking slowly onstage with their eyes glued to their cellphones. In true Heard fashion the production is its own unique world, and is an immersive experience that starts before the show even begins. Theatrical haze filtered through the eerie pink and green lighting of Marcus Randolph evokes a smoky club or an early morning mist, and envelops the playing space with its monochrome, cityscape set, designed by You Killed Me First, of rolling scaffolding and walls plastered with retro concert posters and flyers, perhaps along the "Boulevard of Broken Dreams."
Continuing the punk aesthetic is the thoughtful, authentic costume design of Hannah Prochaska Slayton who dresses the city kids in black leather, fishnet, and red tartan, while suburban kids are more dressed down in t-shirts and flannels. The show is a near non-stop whirlwind of music and movement which choreographer Jenna Szoke deftly shapes with freestyle, punk, and hip-hop styles. One memorable bit set to the song "Holiday" features the suburban kids leaving Jingletown for the big city on a bumpy bus, which they simulate for comic effect through synchronized physical movement. And Taley Tran creat