When Green Day first announced that their beloved album "American Idiot" would be adapted for the Broadway stage many were skeptical. Some said it proved how arrogant the band was, others thought it was a cash cow. Though the musical has done well since its release, there are still fans and critics alike who aren’t sure of the band's intention with the production. This film serves to answer that question and not only show the makings of the production, but to show how Billie went from being unsure about the idea to being in the show. What ether you're a Green Day fan or just a fan of Broadway this film is a great look into "Green Day's American Idiot."
Any film that goes behind the scenes of a project runs the risk of becoming dull during some parts, but that's not the case here. While audiences do get to see the beginnings of the production, such as stage set up, dance practices, and composition it has a good balance between this and showing Billie's story about his Broadway debut. The film doesn't focus so much on him that it feels like they're trying to rip off fans, but it also doesn't solely focus on the “making of” portion where it gets boring. The director Doug Hamilton does a great job with including both types of footage ensuring that there's something everyone will want to see.For anyone who is not familiar with the world of Broadway, this film is a great way to get a feel for it. It shows how a concert and a musical production differ. Audiences also see how dedicated the players are. You can really feel the passion and love of the actors here and it will turn any skeptic into a believer. When I found out some of the actors had a prior connection to the album, it made me like the production instantly. It didn't feel corny or that they were just going through the motions of learning their lines. They were inspired to put their heart in it because they liked the album in the first place. Also, it shows how there's not a lot of instant gratification on Broadway. The scene with one of the players crying because he finally made it to Broadway after 28 years was inspiring, yet heartbreaking. It shows that not everyone makes it in the business.
Of course the footage that all Green Day fans will appreciate seeing is Billie getting involved with the project. One of the best scenes of the film is when Michael Mayer and the cast convinces the band to go along with the production. Seeing the look on their faces go from uncertainty to awe was great. It not only showed they could get excited by their own music, but that they always keep an open mind. Another thoughtful moment is when Billie prepares for his stint as St. Jimmy. You would think since he wrote the song, performed it numerous times, and has such a great stage persona this would be easy for him. Viewers learn this is the furthest thing from the truth. While Billie can sing the song just fine, we see him struggle with the choreography and the acting. You can even see how nervous he is during rehearsals. It not only shows that Billie isn't arrogant, but that he was serious about getting everything right.
There's also a lot of great footage of the musical itself for anyone was hasn't seen the production or who just wants to relive it again. Viewers get to see early stages of production where things get added or taken out. We then get to see how it looks during the final stage. Some of the players are really good and they managed to make a lot of the songs come to life with cool visuals. Also, the new story Mayer came up with is interesting and does a great job of connecting with the songs. Overall, it's a great experience for both Green Day and Broadway fans alike.
"Broadway Idiot" is out in theaters now. It's also available via On Demand from both iTunes and Amazon. Chicagoans will have to wait a little longer to see the film in theaters. It will hi the Music Box Theater November 1. To learn more about the film and to see where its playing, visit the Broadway Idiot website.