Broadway Tour Review: Green Day’s American Idiot

Hennepin Theater Trust sent me to see opening night of Green Day’s American Idiot as an ‘exclusive blogger’ last night…such a HUGE thrill for this theater lover! Let me start by saying that I brought my best friend Jocie to the show. And the fact that we both had husbands who offered to stay home with our flu infected kids, secretly made the evening even more enjoyable for us. So thanks to our hubbies for braving the barf so we could go have a night on the town.

The show is a fast-moving “rock opera” set to the music of Green Day’s 2004 album American Idiot. It follows three young friends as they venture into the post-9/11 world to follow their dreams.  Will stays (hesitantly) behind in the suburbs,  Tunny’s dreams “turn red white and blue” as he joins the military, and Johnny moves to the big city and gets caught up in sex, drugs and of course, rock & roll. Green Day’s lyrics tell the entire story….and they tell it brilliantly.

Having never seen the show I didn’t exactly know what to expect. So the fast pace and heaviness caught me a bit off guard. But after the first 10 minutes or so I settled right in. The subject matter was deep, thought provoking and political. This was a production full of rage and beauty, all at the same time. (For example, we were mystified by how beautiful they made drug addiction look at times. Is that possible?) It seemed like for every raging punk-rock number like Jesus Of Suburbia, there was a subtle and sweet acoustic number, like When It’s Time to give this show it’s heart. All three lead actors were SUPERB. It was Van Hughes as Johnny who really stood out as my favorite, with the perfect voice for the part. I left the theater thinking that it was over so fast! I wish we could have seen the characters like Whatsername (yes you read it right) and St. Jimmy (who was delightfully creepy) develop more. I didn’t feel like I had enough time to become fully emotionally invested because of the ADHD nature of show, which I realize was fully intended. Luckily that didn’t detract from the fantastic staging and all of the awesomely racy imagery.  The goose-bump inducing highlights of the show for me were the cello infused 21 Guns with the entire cast, and the emotional Wake Me Up When September Ends towards the end of the show. Then of course there was the encore!!! I won’t give any secrets away…but it was spectacular! The audience clearly agreed.

I’m from the Rent generation. So naturally, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to my favorite show of all time. But it was great to see so many young people in the crowd! (Every generation should have their own Rent.) American Idiot is one of those shows that leaves you thinking…even the next day. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Naturally, fans of Green Day will love this show. And fans of theater will most likely leave with a new appreciation for Green Day. A huge THANK YOU to Hennepin Theater Trust for inviting me to blog!

American Idiot plays through  Sunday 2/26 at the Orpheum in Minneapolis. Check out for more info.


  1. I am an avid theater-goer who has not see American Idiot, but after reading your review, Marie, it’s now on my must see list. I love a good musical that leaves you thinking as you exit the theater.

  2. I wondered what in the world this show was about. Sounds amazing! I hope you had the time of your life! (Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)

  3. Cannot wait to see this! I so wish I could have been in the MN crowd with you. Checking when it’s in LA…definitely a must see! Thanks for the heads up!

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