Dec. 06--It's punk, it's edgy and it's an award winner ... and it's coming to El Paso for one night only.
"American Idiot," the Tony Award-winning musical based on the Grammy Award-winning, multiplatinum-selling album of the same name from Green Day and frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, is set to take the stage Monday at the Plaza Theatre.
"We always thought that somehow there should be some sort of a staged version because that's what we were thinking in our heads," Armstrong has said of the album.
In April 2011, the musical ended a 400-plus-show run on Broadway. It has been rocking audiences across North America since, winning over critics, one of whom called it one of the more "impressive pieces of pop art of the early 21st century."
The play tells the raw and uncensored story of three lifelong friends forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia. It's a look at reality, of growing up with hard choices to make. The musical outlines their quest for the true meaning of life through an emotional journey told through the hauntingly honest, straightforward lyrics of Green Day's music.
The musical features hits from the acclaimed album, including "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "21 Guns," "Wake Me Up When September Ends," "Holiday" and the popular title track, "American Idiot." It is directed by Tony Award-winner Michael Mayer and choreographed by Olivier Award-winner Steven Hoggett with music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tom Kitt. The cast is filled with young, talented actors.
This is the third tour of the musical, with about 75 more stops left.
"This show is incredibly, painfully relatable," said actress Mariah MacFarlane, who plays Heather in the show. "If it doesn't relate to you directly, you probably know someone who is experiencing it -- all through the musical stories of Green Day. It's truly a theatrical experience."
In 2004, Green Day released "American Idiot" to critical praise. Time Magazine proclaimed it "a masterpiece," Amp welcomed it to "an elite list of albums, including The Who's 'Tommy,' Pink Floyd's 'The Wall,' and The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,' that successfully weave a narrative through music." Rolling Stone acclaimed it "a richly melodic song suite that gives voice to disenfranchised suburban Americans." The album won two Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album and Record of the Year for "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," selling more than 12 million copies to date, according to organizers.
"I was a huge Green Day fan and a big fan of Billie Joe's writing," MacFarlane said. "Green Day and 'American Idiot' had such a profound impact on me. To watch a band, new and cutting edge, that was unapologetic for their music and messages was amazing.
"Billie Joe is really a poet, a storyteller, not just a lyricist, and all that is reflected in this musical, in this story."
Armstrong wrapped it up nicely: "If you're going to do a rock opera, you've got to do it right."
Margaret Gallardo is the entertainment editor for the El Paso Times. She may be reached at 546-6166.
What: "American Idiot," the musical based on Green Day's award-winning album. Contains adult content and strong language.
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Where: Plaza Theatre, El Paso.
Tickets: $35 to $60, plus fees.
Information: elpasolive.com; ticketmaster.com; 534-0609.
More: "American Idiot" tour information and schedule, americanidiotthemusical.com.
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