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Sunday, April 21, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Broadway vs. punk

Six years ago I was dropped into the world of punk rock, landed on my head, and loved it.
The culprit? Green Day's American Idiot.
Since then I've wandered down the dark allies of hardcore and lingered under the flashing lights of pop punk only to find myself a little older, a little deafer, but once again staring at that hand grenade heart.
Why, you wonder? It's because American Idiot has once more blown its way into the public conscience, this time as a Broadway musical.
From the groans and complaints that have echoed from some Green Day fans you would think that Billie Joe had put on a tutu and announced he was going to sing country.
There was something more to that album, and you can cling to Dookie and Nimrod all you want, but sometimes evolution is inevitable.
Call it selling out, call it what you will, but for an album that was hailed as a rock opera and a magnus opus, its natural to expect that more could come out of such a work.
Paired with the creative talent of Tony Award wining director Michael Mayer and the youthful energy of former Spring Awakening star and Tony award winner John Gallagher Jr., the time is right for the loose plot behind the album to be filled in.
With a sold-out run in Berkley, the high-energy production is obviously doing something right.
Why sit around and speculate that the show will be no good and that Green Day has gone around the U-bend? So they put their black eyeliner aside for a moment. Don't write off the obvious time, effort, and talent that went into this production just because it doesn't follow your preconceived notions of what punk music is.
Following the path that was cut by Rent and Spring Awakening, American Idiot holds the chance to pull in people who would never give that Broadway sign a second glance. The rock musical genre is becoming a norm on Broadway and viewers should embrace it as a new and legitimate form.
American Idiot was written as a concept album. It was threaded together by the characters of Jesus of Suburbia, St. Jimmy, and Whatsername, looking for meaning in a world that wont believe in them.
It deserves the chance to have all the ideas behind it, the ideas that went rather ignored by many listeners, to be showcased.
So head to New York City this summer, buy yourself the least expensive back row ticket you can find and give it a chance. The worst that happens is you'll be guilty of getting a little culture.

E-mail: vanessa.frith@ubspectrum.com


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