American Idiot

“Prolly shoulda written this last week, cause we all know how the content of my write ups tends to decrease with time. But then again, I think Im just enough over the high of the show that this wont be all OMG’s and excess exclamation points. Also, I wasnt sure if I really would do this, but I’ve got some time to kill now. 30 min til DWTS, and with mom having invaded my room, there’s no space to D on my own like I usually do right after work. No I wont explain that.

First, some Dawn Dawn backstory. I wont go too far back, except to say that the short version of the far back is that punk rock is what helped me survive high school. The \m/ you rebellious attitude kept me going until I could get outta there. While Blink 182 was the band that actually got me into punk, Green Day wasn’t too far behind. Fast foward a bit to 2004. I’d heard rumors of Green Day putting out a Tommy-like concept album. This being the time I was heavy into musical theater one of my first thoughts was how \m/ awesome it’d be if that album made it to the stage.

Some time passed and I hadnt heard much else about this mysterious album. Then American Idiot came out. I think I tried downloading it at first, but that five songs in one thing confused me, and I figured what the hell and went and bought it. Keep in mind, at this point in time, I legally bought maaaaybe one album a year. I think I listened to it a few times through before realizing “”holy shit this is that concept album””. I devoured it at that point.

That entire fall, everywhere I went, American Idiot was with me. Now this was a few months before I got my first ipod. So I was carrying around a walkman all over MIT and Boston. And this was also when I’d busted my knee, so I was hobbling around on crutches. I’d specifically carry around my little black and blue Superman satchel so it would hold my walkman, with just one cd on me. I studied the lyric book like whoa. I even went so far as to write out all the lyrics on my wall–no easy feat when my uber knee brace limited my range of motion.

Obsess much? Yeah. But I loved it. I connected with it on so many levels–the rebellion, the desire to get out, the angst and insecurity, the outcast-ness (?).

Fast foward a bit more, and I hear that the stage show has finally happened. I dont wanna say I’d given up hope on it, but it wasnt something that’d crossed my mind in a while. From hearing about it in December, I was on edge until finally getting to see it last week.

Woke up at 4 AM to catch the 6:30 bus to NYC. Got in around 11 and had a solo lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Wandered around a bit til I ended up at the St Jimmy (okay so its officially the St James) theater. They let us in through this side hallway with red and black walls. On the ledges were silver and black sharpies, and the walls were covered in graffitti. I ran to a wall and tried to find a spot to squeeze in a signature. I got in a better one on the way out, but my flashless camera phone couldnt get a good shot. Walked to the merch table and blew my budget before settling into my seat.

Was it all worth it? FUCK YEAH! We weren’t even through the first verse of the title song when I was already screaming “”Again! Again again!”” in my head. I fear the people next to and behind me musta been really annoyed cause I was rocking out, mouthing every lyric. That opening number in particular was just phenomenal. Really intense and physical choreo (<3!), bright set, tv screens with assorted Americana images, string players on fire escape type platforms, actors suspended from the air, costumes I want in my closet, energetic cast. Love all around. Now I will admit there were points that weren't perfect. The minimal book is a bit questionable. At times they explained too much, and at others not enough. And most of that limited dialogue did seem a bit forced. There were some images, especially in a lot of the middle songs, that I didnt quite understand. Although when listening to the original album on loop on the bus ride back, I got to process them a bit and they did make more sense. In particular, Im thinking of some of the more symbolic imagery, especially with the whole soldier storyline. But that's about all of the negative for me. I'd had almost a week to chew on the tasty soundtrack, which the wonderful Nikki had procured for me. And the unthinkably impossible happened. They actually made the original songs sound even better! Was really interested in how they characterized it. As much as I absorbed the album, I'd pieced together a different story in my head. Same basic concept, but different details. The one I'd particularly not seen coming was the aforementioned soldier subplot, which was for (semi)new character Tunny. Also thought that newbie character Will staying behind in the ficticious Jingletown while Jesus of Suburbia and Tunny ventured into the city was an interesting touch. Took me a while to get which St Jimmy interpertation they were going with: alter ego or bad influence. Im not sure how apparent the alter ego thing would be for someone not familiar with it (hell, it took me a while to catch onto that interpertation of the album, even with the line ""The St Jimmy is a figment of your father's rage and your mother's love). Loved the cast. Such a great and energetic bunch, and all so perfect for their roles. The ensemble worked incredibly well. It seemed like one of those shows where its almost more fun to be in the ensemble than a lead. That always gets points from me. I dont think its possible for me to gush anymore. So we'll move on. On the way out, I saw people lining up behind barricades by the stage door--something I always forget about on the few occassions when Ive been to b'way. So I grabbed one of the extra Playbills I'd stolen and a sharpie from my bag and waited with the rest of 'em. By the end, my Playbill was full of signatures. Missed out on John Gallagher Jr (Jesus of Suburbia) and Tony Vincent (St Jimmy) but I got all the other major players and a good chunk of the ensemble. Even took a pic (which ya'll see on my facebook profile) with Michael Esper (Will). Wrapping up cause its almost DWTS and my hands are dying, but all I got left to say is I cant \m/ wait to see this again and again and again. Anyone up for a trip to NYC?"

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