American Idiot, the Musical

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American Idiot, the Musical
Music by: Green Day
Lyrics by: Billie Joe Armstrong
Book writer(s): Billie Joe Armstrong
Michael Mayer
Based on: American Idiot album by Green Day
Premiere date: September 4, 2009
Awards: Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album

American Idiot, the Musical is a 2010 broadway musical based on Green Day's American Idiot album. Though the band had little to no participation in the production of the play, lead singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong played the part of St. Jimmy on occasion.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Set in the early 2000s, the musical opens with a group of suburban youths living unhappily in "Jingletown, USA". Fed up with the state of the union, the company explodes in frustration during "American Idiot". One of the youths, Johnny, begins to tell his story in "Jesus of Suburbia", revealing he comes from a broken home and feels dissatisfied with the world. He soon goes to commiserate with his friend Will, and a third friend, Tunny, joins the two at Will's house. As they party and get drunk they run out of beer, prompting them to pick up more at the local 7-Eleven. Tunny exposes the do-nothing go-nowhere quicksand of their lives in the "City of the Damned". Realizing they aren't going anywhere, Johnny challenges his friends to start caring about their lives and everything around them ("I Don't Care"). Will's girlfriend, Heather, finds out that she is pregnant with Will's child, and expresses her conflicting feelings in "Dearly Beloved". Johnny borrows money and buys bus tickets to the city for the three young men, eager to escape suburbia. Before the boys are able to leave, Heather tells Will of her pregnancy. With no other choice, he tells his friends he must stay at home in "Tales of Another Broken Home". Johnny and Tunny depart for the city with a group of other jaded youths ("Holiday").

Johnny's dreams and expectations of the city have fallen short so far, and he walks around the city to establish more of a bond with it. While wandering the streets alone, he pines for a woman he sees in an apartment window ("Boulevard of Broken Dreams"). While Tunny finds it hard to adjust to urban life, he spends his time watching TV and is seduced by advertisements featuring America's favorite son, an attractive, macho, all-American sex symbol. He becomes convinced that the favorite son is everything he wants to be as well. The favorite son is revealed to be an American soldier ("Favorite Son"). Believing that joining the military will give Tunny the purpose he believed Johnny and the big city would give him, Tunny enlists ("Are We the Waiting").

Back in the city, a frustrated Johnny manifests a rebellious drug-dealing alter ego called St. Jimmy, who is the carefree punk Johnny has always wanted to be. Johnny takes party drugs for the first time during "St. Jimmy". His newfound courage thanks to St. Jimmy and the drugs allow Johnny to make a successful move on the girl in the window. Two weeks later, Johnny admits he has injected heroin for the first time and spends the night with the girl he saw in the window, whom he calls "Whatsername". Back in Jingletown, Will sits on the couch as Heather's pregnancy progresses. He drinks beer and begs for a release. Meanwhile, Tunny is deployed to a war zone, and is shot and wounded. Will and Tunny beg for relief in "Give Me Novacaine".

Johnny is smitten with Whatsername and they go to a club together to celebrate, but St. Jimmy has other plans for them in "Last of the American Girls / She's a Rebel". St. Jimmy hands Johnny heroin and Johnny pressures Whatsername into injecting with him. St. Jimmy sets the mood, Whatsername expresses her trust in Johnny, and Heather pledges her love to her newborn baby in "Last Night on Earth".

Will is increasingly neglectful as Heather devotes herself to caring for their baby. Heather has had enough of Will's pot/alcohol-fueled apathy. Despite Will's protestations, she takes the baby and walks out ("Too Much, Too Soon"). At around the same time, lying in a bed in an army hospital surrounded by fellow injured soldiers, Tunny falls victim to the hopelessness he has seen during wartime ("Before the Lobotomy"). Tunny hallucinates while on medication and imagines he and his nurse engaging in a balletic aerial dance ("Extraordinary Girl"). He quickly falls in love with her. His hallucination disappears, and he's left with his fellow soldiers in agony ("Before the Lobotomy (Reprise)").

Back in the city, Johnny refuses some dope from Jimmy and instead chooses to reveal the depth of his love for Whatsername as she sleeps ("When It's Time"). His relationship with Whatsername threatens the very existence of St. Jimmy, so Jimmy forces Johnny to become increasingly erratic, and amidst hallucinations and paranoid delusions, Johnny threatens Whatsername and then himself with a knife ("Know Your Enemy"). Whatsername attempts to convince Johnny to get help, while The Extraordinary Girl tends to Tunny's physical and emotional wounds as it is revealed that Tunny is now an amputee, and Heather and her baby are far away from Will who sits alone on his couch ("21 Guns"). Jimmy makes Johnny leave a note for Whatsername, saying he has chosen St. Jimmy and drugs over her. Frustrated, Whatsername tells Johnny that he is not The "Jesus of Suburbia" and reveals that St. Jimmy is nothing more than "a figment of [his] father's rage and [his] mother's love" ("Letterbomb"). She leaves him and his unwillingness to acknowledge his issues behind.

Hurt by Whatsername's departure, Johnny longs for better days ahead, Tunny longs for home, and Will longs for all the things he's lost ("Wake Me Up When September Ends"). St. Jimmy appears and makes one last attempt to get Johnny's attention, but Johnny has made the conscious decision to end his self destruction, resulting in the metaphorical suicide of St. Jimmy ("The Death of St. Jimmy"). Johnny cleans up and gets a desk job but realizes there is no place for him there or in the city ("East 12th Street"). Will, all alone with his television, bemoans his outcast state ("Nobody Likes You"). Will imagines Heather appearing with her new show-off rockstar boyfriend who is much cooler than Will ("Rock & Roll Girlfriend"). Sick of staying on his couch, Will heads to 7-Eleven and, surprisingly, finds Johnny there. Johnny had sold his guitar for a bus ticket home. Tunny also appears at the 7-Eleven, having returned from deployment with The Extraordinary Girl. Johnny becomes furious with Tunny for leaving him in the city, but quickly forgives him, and the three friends embrace. Tunny introduces his friends to The Extraordinary Girl. Heather and her rockstar boyfriend arrive in style, and in an uneasy truce, she allows Will to hold their baby. Other friends show up to greet the three men they haven't seen in a year ("We're Coming Home Again"). One year later, Johnny laments that he lost the love of his life, but he accepts that he can live with the struggle between rage and love that has defined his life. With this acceptance comes the possibility of hope ("Whatsername").

After the cast takes their bows, the curtain rises to reveal the entire company with guitars, and they perform "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)". Each performance of this song was recorded and given to the audience as a free digital download.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • In the background of the city of New York, a poster of American Idiot can be seen in The Smurfs Movie.
  • The musical experienced a dramatic increase in box office sales after Billie joined the cast.[1]

References[edit | edit source]