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"Give Me Novacaine"...To Get Through This Show

When I see a touring show, my first thought as I walk out of the theater is usually “I have got to see that again.” With American Idiot, it was “Thank god that’s over.”

American Idiot, a “jukebox musical”, or “party musical,” as I like to call them, is made up of songs from the once-popular band Green Day. I had no idea there was an actual plot to the show until it was too late to connect to the characters (whose names I never learned). Most of my time was spent feeling uncomfortable while writing down frantic notes, like “please put your pants back on, “ “stop having sex,” and “why are you doing so many drugs?”

This is not to say that the actors in the show weren’t talented, it was just the show was not an enjoyable experience. For example, Van Hughes (Johnny), has an amazing voice and a great stage presence. I’d love to see members of this cast in another play so I could appreciate them.

One other cool (yet distracting) aspect was the onstage pit. Jared Stein, the musical director, was on the receiving end of a lot of my attention. I could see his conducting as he played the keyboard, also decked out in typical "punk rocker" clothing. Alon Bisk, the cellist, was moved around under a staircase a few times, which caught my eye and never failed to amaze me with his concentration.

Although the middle schooler inside of me was very pleased to hear Green Day music played loudly, it was the only thing I took pleasure in, and it didn’t last too long. The strobe lighting made my eyes hurt, and several times I found myself needing to close them to fight off my imminent headache. The dancing--a combination of headbanging and awkward combinations that didn’t seem to fit the songs--made my neck hurt. All in all, it was a rough 90 minutes.

If you enjoy sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll, American Idiot might be the right choice for you. Tickets are available online at hennepintheatertrust.org, in person at the State Theater box office or by calling 1.800.982.2787.

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