American Idiot | Cadillac Palace Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Green Day's belligerent, obscene, seductive, self-pitying, tender, needy American Idiot—caught between danger and boredom—lives and dies by the sword of adolescent energy. Though images from the Bush era, sizzling on dozens of TV screens, permeate this 2009 rock opera/2010 Broadway musical, book writers Billy Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer (who also directs) focus on the personal travails of bandmates Johnny, Will, and Tunny, who barely pull out of their respective tailspins by the end. They may not be convincingly redeemed, but the show is—by its hurricane of thrashing, head-banging dance (courtesy of Black Watch choreographer Steven Hoggett), by Green Day's passionate, poetic music, and by the cast's and onstage band's heroic enthusiasm. They create the emotion in this otherwise callow, overwrought story. —Laura Molzahn



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