Berkeley Rep’s Green Day rock-opera “American Idiot”- which world premiered last night at Berkeley Rep - is a hugely ambitious project that bombards with sound, vision and thrashing emotion. It looks, smells and sounds like teen spirit.
The plot takes a familiar path that goes like this: the anti-hero leaves home, lives in squalor, becomes disillusioned, rocks, rages against the machine, takes drugs, angsts more, rocks more and does more drugs. The end point is either death or redemption. And that's pretty much it.
Most of the time, a night at the theater at Berkeley Rep is filled with an audience of full-on grown-ups with faculty beards and grey streaks. The crowd at last night’s opening of the world premiere of “American Idiot”, the staged adaptation of the Green Day concept album, was a horse of many snazzier colors and an entirely more youthful demographic.
Adding melody to substance can be a risky business. And next week, Berkeley Rep will try it with Green Day’s “American Idiot” – the theatrical afterthought to the band’s Grammy winning multi-platinum rock album.
The musical, which features an onstage band and includes every song from the album as well as several songs from Green Day’s new CD, “21st Century Breakdown”, is directed by Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening).