|Bass Hall stepped a bit out of its traditional fare this week with a one night engagement of Green Days' American Idiot.
Van Hughes, Scott J. Campbell & Nicci Claspell
American Idiot was the CD of a Generation. It came about when the master recordings of a nearly completed follow up to 2000's “Warning” were stolen. Instead of rerecording the songs of what was to have been titled “Cigarettes & Valentines” the group decided to start from scratch, new music, new concept. The concept was rock opera. The inspiration “The Who's Tommy”. American Idiot would prove equally important.
American Idiot tells the story of three disaffected young men, at the beginnings of their adult lives and the very different paths they take. Do they follow their dreams or play it safe? American Idiot was part of several shows that made their debut on the great white way in 2008 and 2009, most notably in this group was In the Heights. These are shows that are obviously not traditional Broadway, but shows that will interested and attract a new, younger, hipper audience with its non traditional music and story telling.
Scott J. Campbell, Van Hughes & Jake Epstein
As was In the Heights, American Idiot was and is an indicator of where Broadway is headed, This type of bold and atypical Musical is exactly where broadway must go, at least in part to attract the next generation of theater goers. While the traditional musical will likely be Broadway as we know it for my lifetime, I can only believe the audience for traditional Broadway is shrinking if for no other reason than the change in musical tastes. Broadway must at least in part evolve. American Idiot is a perfect example of what the Great White Way must offer. Idiot is non-stop, fast paced, high energy drama.
To truly appreciate American Idiot you have to take yourself back about ten years and remember the turmoil and rage of that time. With the prominence of the Iraq War in the plot, along with other references I believe the American Idiot they refer to is George W. Bush. The cost of the unnecessary war is illustrated here in brilliant color. It is also not a family show, with heavy adult language and some explicit drug use, the show is definitely in your face.
Scott J. Campbell and Nicci Claspell
The Choreography and lighting effects standout and the harmonies this cast offers when singing as an ensemble are bone chilling. The treatment of Green Day songs “Jesus of Suburbia”, “Extraordinary Girl” and “21 Guns” are standouts.
Bass Hall steps out here a bit, bringing some edgy theater to Cowtown most prestigious theater. Until now the edgiest show I remember seeing her was a Dame Edna Tour about four years ago.While the a one night only engagement, I have to believe Bass Hall is dipping it's toes in the water to see how much support there is in Fort Worth for somewhat alternative programing. I believe Fort Worth has a love for the arts that is unparalleled and that will respond to such cutting edge theater. Maybe they could pick up a night or two of The Book of Mormon after its return engagement in Dallas next year.
Next up at Bass Hall “Forbidden Broadway”. The spoof of all that is Broadway has picked up 9 Drama Desk Awards, a Tony, and an Obie, among others. One Night Only, tickets are $22-$55 and available at http://www.basshall.com/
Coming up next, my review of Dallas Theater Center's World Premier co-production of Fortress of Solitude. See it now before it heads to New York's Public Theater and what is sure to be a run on Broadway.
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