Suddenly there is a cold breeze in the air…a hint that winter can’t be far ahead of the impending fall, but at the White Plains Performing Arts Center this weekend it’s truly a “spring awakening”. The Harrison Summer Theatre, sponsored by the Harrison Recreation Department presents a most unique theatrical experience, right here in White Plains. First of all, it seems that this White Plains theatre brought in Jeremy Quinn, Director, from Harrison’s Summer Theatre, to direct his second production. It truly is as good as the Broadway original—and I saw Lea Michelle, John Gallagher, Jr. and Jonathan Groff in the leads. Each lead here is equal to those who were on Broadway. And for that we have to thank the director, first and foremost. Continue reading
Green Day’s growth as a band continues to astonish me. If you told me over a decade ago, back when I was wearing plaid and moshing in the pit with my best friend Steve, that the Berkeley, CA punk trio would become the most influential band of my generation, I’d probably laugh in your face. Yes, I loved the band (Steve and I once dyed our hair green before a show) but quite honestly, even I thought they were flash-in-the-pan material. I’ve never felt so good about being so wrong.
For me, the band began proving they were more than one-trick punk ponies with their terribly underrated 2000 album Warning. Those thoughts accelerated in 2004 (sadly the same year in which Steve passed away), when Billy Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool, and Mike Dirnt released American Idiot, an instant classic punk rock opera that’s arguably the best rock album made in the 2000s. Following that Grammy Award winning landmark disc, the band came out with 21st Century Breakdown last year, reinforcing their importance in rock music history with an equally if not more prophetic rock opera.
Thanks to the new groundbreaking material, sharing their music with my closest friend and those many college “green” days, the band holds a special place for me. I say all of this because, heading into the Broadway musical adaptation of American Idiot, which opened tonight (April 20), I’ve never been more excited to see a show. With all the self-induced hype, Idiot had a lot to live up to. In so many ways, it did, and yet, it didn’t. In the end, the shortcomings don’t matter as much as you’d think because the show rocks.
American Idiot roars right out of the gate with televisions flashing images of George W. Bush, post-9/11 news reports, and other noise we watch in this TMZ era before an energetic cast bolt on stage singing and dancing with and to the title track. From there, the show paints a story (an abstract one at that) about Johnny (John Gallagher, Jr.) a self-professed “Jesus of Suburbia,” who’s sick of the world, doesn’t know which direction to go in, and rounds up his friends Tunny (Stark Sands) and Will (Michael Esper) to leave suburban life in search of a better one in the big city (cue Holiday.) Continue reading
By Gary Chattman
For a thoroughly interesting, depressing—yet uplifting visit to the theatre, go to the Booth Theatre to see Next to Normal. It’s got mood disorders; mania; psychotic episodes filled with delusions and hallucinations. No, this isn’t the United States Senate—or the New York Senate. Continue reading