Monday, February 18, 2013


Take the punk rock band Green Day and give it a concert stage setting, using the platform of its wildly successful album of the same name and you have the genesis for the explosive musical "American Idiot."  The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts will be launching this explosive musical event from Tuesday, February 26 to Sunday, March 3 and you're invited to detonate the powerful musical fuse.

With a book by vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and director Michael Mayer and music by the group Green Day from its iconic albums, "American Idiot" is a tale of lost boys looking for their identity, for love and for a meaning to life.  A trio of friends Johnny, Will and Tunny feel trapped in suburbia, which they call "Jingletown USA" and by their restrictive and confining parents and they want to escape.  While Will stays home to deal with his pregnant girlfriend Heather, Johnny and Tunny run off by bus to find themselves in the lights and excitement of the big city.

Soon Tunny turns to the military and enlists in the army, being shipped off to war, while Johnny makes other choices which he quickly questions.  With lightning energy that rocks the rafters, "American Idiot" is not for the faint of heart or decibel-challenged listeners.  The boys grapple with issues that are youth-driven, and turn to drugs and alcohol as escapes that only complicate their problems.  Heather's pregnancy, Tunny's wartime wounds and hallucinations, Johnny's strange longings and loves, Will's assuming the persona of Jesus of Suburbia, all work to showcase the trio's rage and frustrations.

The heartfelt sentiments of walking alone along the "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" clearly spell out the despair of being solitary in a crowded world while "Wake Me Up When September Ends" continues the lament for all things lost and not able to be recovered.  The final song "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" reviews the choices one makes with the hope that they were good ones.

For tickets ($20-75), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at  Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Take an emotionally charged journey with a trio of young men as they break out of their cocoons and try to soar free, even if it means taking the risk of crashing and burning in the process.

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