The Oriental Theatre in Chicago is probably one of my favorite theatres. The theatre opened on May 8th, 1926, and has captivated audiences with motion pictures which over the decades gradually transitioned to Broadway productions. The interior design for the theatre was heavily influenced by…can you guess? The Orient!
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed seeing multiple performances of Wicked and most recently, American Idiot at the theatre.
Don’t want to be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by all the media.
Information age of hysteria.
It’s calling out to idiot America.
Lyrics from the song, American Idiot, by the band Green Day.
Everyone has the own interpretation of music. People seek understanding through metaphors and similes. Sometimes it’s pretty easy to figure out, and other times you need the cliff notes guide.
In my opinion, Green Day’s lyrics are pretty explicit. There is no real wiggle room for what the band is singing about. It’s a call to attention about the current state of America and encourages its’ residents to not be passive.
This idea clearly came out in the Broadway performance. But I will say, that without a doubt, the play was not at all what I was expecting. Why? I know it’s a musical so the majority of time there is going to be a lot of singing. However, more dialogue would have helped the viewer understand sooner what is exactly was happening.
One thing I did really like was the stage design and choreography. The stage was set with a few standard objects, one of which was a multi-story staircase that at one point was turned into a bus simply by flipping it around and cast members climbing inside to “ride” the bus. Pretty darn creative.
Would I go see it again? Probably not. The show lacked a captivating emotion that is successfully conveyed through other classic musicals and even other modern performances.
Am I glad I saw it? Yes. I’m a fan of Green Day and was curious how the album was translated to a full on musical. The show is definitely a unique production looking at modern day society with great acting and music.
Next time you’re in New York or American Idiot comes back to Chicago, go see it and let me know what you think!