Walking into a Downtown Los Angeles warehouse, I couldn't imagine any other venue more suited for this production. The American Idiot musical is one that has brought the music of punk band Green Day to the lights of Broadway and touring around the world. If you want to see the grit and grime of the American dream come to life on stage, this show is one not to be missed.
I knew the show would be a completely interactive experience, with platforms scattered throughout the audience. They open with the title track, "American Idiot," and no cast member goes less than full-out (we clocked you Pitch Perfect's Shelley Regner). Song after song we are hit with a vocal barrage of Green Day's hits and fan favorites. From "Holiday" straight into "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "21 Guns" and "Wake Me Up When September Ends" the ensemble threads together the timeless storyline of three friends with a dream to start a band. Life always has a way of getting in its own way, and they split off on separate journeys. It's "Drugs, Sex, and Rock & Roll" for the post-9/11 generation. The LA production is directed by Topher Rhys and Jen Oundjian, with musical director Elmo Zapp.
Alec Cyganowski was performing his first show as main character "Johnny" and hit every angst-ridden note with Billy Joe-esque fervor. He leaves his home where he was informally known as "Jesus of Suburbia" for the Big City, eventually falling in love with two muses: "St. Jimmy" (the drug) played by the amazing Caitlin Ary and "Whatshername" played by Glee alum Lindsay Pearce. Both women pull Johnny in different directions throughout the show, and their voices stand on their own as YAS-worthy.
Mesmerized by the allure of the Armed Forces, Jonah Platt's "Tunny" goes through the ranks with Uncle Sam, figuring out how to be selfless, yet falling in love with an "Extraordinary Girl" (Bianca Gisselle) along the way. Accompanied by the live band onstage, their scenes are some of the most gripping throughout the production.
Lastly but not leastly, bandmember Will, played by Matt Magnusson, has to bear the consequences of the "sex" in that aforementioned trio, getting Briana Cuoco's character pregnant and having to abandon his musical dream. Matt may have spent majority of the show on the couch in the "back home" portion of the set, but he did not lack presence. Between his smoldering eyes and vocal battles with himself and Cuoco, we never forgot he was along for the ride. Can we talk about Briana Cuoco's voice for a minute? The woman has one of those talented voices that when she opens her mouth, you're flabbergasted. Effortless and awe-inducing are the words that come to mind. OK, that's all the fangirling I'll do for now! Check out their duet of "Give Me Novocaine" an exclusive trailer debuting here on PopWrapped!
There are only two more weekends left to see this amazing production in DTLA so DON'T.WASTE.TIME. Check out AmericanIdiotLosAngeles.com for tickets. It'll be the smartest decision you've made all year.