New life

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The Spectrum

Grade: A

In the turbulent, mixed up, war-waging post-9/11 world, three friends struggle to break out of their mundane existence in suburbia.

While one stays behind in Jingle Town, one jumps into Middle Eastern combat and the last falls into a heroin-addicted existence in The City.

This is the plot of Broadway's newest musical, American Idiot, driven by the revamped punk rock music of Green Day's 2004 album of the same name. Hitting the stage on April 20, the show brings with it a soundtrack that showcases the amazing musical adaptation created by Green Day and Tom Kitt (Next to Normal).

Now imbued with the passion of the rollercoaster emotions that each character brings to the music, these songs take on a new life. Although it has been well known that American Idiot was originally written with the intent that it would become a show, the connections and meanings behind the lyrics can now be understood on an entirely new level.

The powerful vocals of John Gallagher, Jr. (Spring Awakening) do Billy Joe Armstrong justice, and the entrance of the female element, Rebecca Naomi Jones (Passing Strange), Mary Faber (Saved) and Christina Sajous (King Lear), only enhances the music.

The musical format allows for multiple voices to sing the lyrics, overlaying each other to create possibilities that could never be achieved by the band alone. Emphasizing this are numbers such as "Jesus of Suburbia" and the mash-up of "Last of the American Girls/She's a Rebel."

While the show draws mainly from American Idiot, four songs from 21st Century Breakdown find their way into the score, along with older numbers like "Favorite Son" and the newest Green Day creation, "When It's Time".

With the band supervising every stage of production, it is no surprise that the music, plot and vocals transition smoothly from a sold-out arena to the quiet darkness of the St. James Theater.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com