‘American Idiot’ set to rock UMass

By Sarah Robertson


“American Idiot,” an album that rocked our generation like few others, has arrived on the big stage. Broadway’s interpretation of Green Day’s hit 2004 album is coming to the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts Tuesday night, and it will bring with it all of the edginess and angst that defined the pop-punk scene of the 2000s. “American Idiot” chronicles the lives of three uninspired youths in a lifeless suburb and their desperate struggle to find purpose. Produced by the Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer and the members of Green Day, the play expands on the album’s story and brings its songs to life through the show’s characters.

The New York Times’ Charles Isherwood called “American Idiot” “thrilling,” “memorable” and “as moving as anything (he’d) seen on Broadway (in its 2010 premiere season.)” Performed with the same gusto as its parent album, the show features many of the band’s most recent hits such as “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “Holiday” and “21 Guns.” While Green Day front man Billy Joel Armstrong will not star in this production, as he had on Broadway, all of the songs performed in the musical are originals written by the band.

When the show began production in 2008, it was worked on over the course of nine months through workshops and revisions to become the production that it is today.  Mayer, two-time Tony Award-winning composer and orchestrator Tom Kitt and choreographer Stephen Hoggett all worked closely with Green Day to keep the storyline close to what the band envisioned. The result is an energetic, vocal and fearless show – exactly what the band wanted.

The musical premiered at California’s Berkeley Repertory Theater in September 2009. It saw weeks of sold out shows and its popularity quickly prompted two extensions.  Since its debut, “American Idiot” has been played at venues nationwide and sold out on Broadway. In 2010, “American Idiot” won Tony awards for Best Scenic Design and Best Lighting Design of a Musical, and went on to receive a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album in February 2011.

“American Idiot” will be playing at the UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center Concert Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door or ahead of time with regular ticket prices ranging from $20 to $55. For more information, you can call the Fine Arts Center at 413-545-2511.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at [email protected]