From Dookie to Broadway

Something very exciting is happening in New York right now. Many exciting things happen there, but this thing is more exciting than most other things. I’m talking about the resurrection of the rock opera. There hasn’t been a successful mainstream rock opera since The Who’s Tommy, unless you count the horde of jukebox musicals that force a contrived plot around a band’s pre-existing catalogue or musicals with “rock” scores by composers with the initials ALW (I’m looking at you, Mr. Webber). Those are not the rock operas I am talking about. With the help of director Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) and musical arranger Tom Kitt (Next to Normal), Green Day is bringing a stage adaptation of their successful concept album American Idiot to Broadway’s St. James Theatre, rejuvenating and possibly revolutionizing a very old art form.

Billie Joe Armstrong and his band have come a long way since “Dookie”, their 1994 breakout album. No longer a pop-fueled alternative act, they are now the defenders of concept-album rock, carrying on the legacy of The Beatles, Queen, and David Bowie. Now, with this new stage venture, Green Day is poised to carve out their own place in music legacy.

I’ve always been aware of Green Day through their radio singles, but have never been a fan until hearing these new arrangements. The band performed “21 Guns” with the cast of American Idiot at Sunday’s Grammy ceremony. I’ve avoided watching the Grammy Awards for several years now, always disappointed with the results, but I am so glad that this performance made it to YouTube. The beautiful orchestrations and vocals emphasize the strong songwriting that was lost on me in its original incarnation.

What do you guys think about this new musical? Excited? Fearful for the death of your favorite art form? Let me know in the comments.

    • Hobo Joe
    • February 2nd, 2010

    taylor swift album of the year!???

    • Carol Channing
    • February 2nd, 2010

    This actually looks and sounds really interesting. I’m all for it. I’m curious to see how this is executed as a Broadway musical.

    P.S. I’m also super psyched about Rebecca Naomi Jones from Passing Strange being in this!

    • Tyce-a-Roni
    • February 3rd, 2010

    Okay, I love Andrew Lloyd and all of ridiculous 80’s ventures (coughStarlightExpresscough).

    I was excited for American Idiot coming to Broadway back before it even opened at Berkeley!! And I LOVE the St. James!!! So I’m uber excited now, can’t wait to SEE it!!!

    The music makes for a very good show.

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