MT Ed’s production of the musical American Idiot (director Tina Crandall-Gommel, vocal director Heather Lonardo, music director David Curry) was performed at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center on September 14 as part of Rochester’s Fringe Festival. Inside of a house-turned-community-center, the local teenagers cast in the production sang their hearts out to the familiar tune of Green Day’s politically charged discography.
For a musical named after a song released over 15 years ago now and featuring the messages of a band formed in 1986, the content expressed in American Idiot seems to have ever-increasing political relevance. The show gave the spotlight to sensitive, nuanced, and often overlooked and taboo subjects such as patriotism, sex, drug use, teenage pregnancy, and loss. In a generation where existence is inherently political, the subversive messages in American Idiot presented themselves as a sense of relief from modern society to both the audience and the young performers.
It’s difficult to express one continual, overarching plot line using bits and pieces of a scattered discography. However, the direction of this musical managed to create substance in a challenging adaptation. Each scene felt like a moving, breathing snapshot of a story; each story stitched together like a quilt. The choreography was visually captivating and often reflected the compositions seen in Renaissance paintings. The music was well executed by a 5-piece band seated high atop a balcony that almost reached the ceiling. The stripped down production featured a set and props which accomplished much despite their minimalism. The lighting was also simple. Using mostly just a red, white, or blue wash, it sarcastically referenced the musical’s titular themes of American patriotism. Throughout the show, American Idiot consistently proved itself to be a worthwhile and entertaining experience for Green Day fans.
For more information about MT Ed and upcoming performances of American Idiot and other shows visit their website.