CCM proudly presents the first local production of Green Day's iconic musical American Idiot from March 3 - 13 in Patricia Corbett Theater. The through-sung rock opera is directed by Patricia A. Corbett Distinguished Chair of Musical Theatre Aubrey Berg with musical direction by Adjunct Instructor of Musical Theatre Steve Goers.
Although many think of Broadway musicals as saccharin sweet, there have been shows throughout the decades that have burst onto the scene, changing theatre forever and defining a generation.
“In 1944, Leonard Bernstein’s On The Town brought fresh faces and a jazz-inflected score to Broadway. My generation grooved to the sound of Hair. In the 90s there was Rent by Jonathan Larson, and for the current generation, it is American Idiot," says Berg.
A high octane adaptation of Green Day’s 2004 Grammy-winning concept album of the same name, American Idiot features a raucous and exhilarating punk rock score yet offers a simple, contemporary fable in the style of the Brothers Grimm. Three disaffected young men - Johnny, Will and Tunny - plan to flee a stifling suburban lifestyle and parental restrictions. Along the way they deal with drugs, lost love, war, inner turmoil and living in an America that is forever changed and roiled by dark events, including the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the Iraq War.
Making sure CCM's production reflects the style and temperament of the current generation was important to Berg. “American Idiot is a musical by the young, for the young,” he says. To keep the presentation authentic, Berg surrounded himself with a creative team of students. His associate director and choreographer, Tom Meglio and Samantha Pollino respectively, are both graduating seniors and are the perfect candidates to help shape this production.
“American Idiot was one of our generation’s very first artistic expressions of events that are ever present in our consciousness because, for the very first time, our generation can say: we lived them,” Meglio and Pollino suggest.
CCM’s production is set three years before the release of the album in the aftermath of the events of 9/11. Meglio and Pollino explain, “We wanted to create an atmosphere of immediacy, to highlight the themes of the show as a response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and explore the period of upheaval that immediately followed.”
Great theatre can delight and entertain, but it can also challenge audiences to confront their own closely held views and perceptions. American Idiot deals with potentially incendiary subjects. The show is loud, abrasive and confrontational. The language is raw and constant. There is simulated sex and simulated drug use. The musical presents an uncompromising view of a dystopian America, but it is also a foray into the psyche of a young generation struggling to make sense of its place in the world at a particular moment in time.
“In addition to ‘rocking out,’ we ask the audience to take a moment to connect with, reflect on and embrace this piece as a raw fragment of history presented with the utmost respect and many unanswered questions,” Meglio and Pollino conclude.