Thursday, September 10, 2015

If You love Green Day's "American Idiot" IMMERSE YOURSELF at ArtsWest Immediately

Justin Huertas, Fredrick Hagreen, Michael Coale Grey in American Idiot (Michael Brunk)
Green Day’s American Idiot
Through October 11, 2015

Have you wondered what it would be like to be on stage? Participate in a play? But you felt intimidated by rehearsing and memorizing lines? Now you can! No rehearsing! No memorization!

Does that sound like an infomercial? ArtsWest is giving you a unique opportunity to get a feeling of participation by attending their ardent, emotional, in-your-face production of Green Day’s American Idiot as an “immersive experience!”

From the standpoint of someone who is probably a bit too old to really care much about the slackers in the story and their angst and suffering, observing all the angst is just fine from a regular seat. The “observational” audience can see the “immersive” audience being told what to do and hurried from place to place, and sometimes that gets distracting even in a production with balls-to-the-walls sets of action.

Imagining the fun and the grit and the sense of immediacy someone of the generation of American Idiot would experience, now there’s a theatrical experience like no other! And for that idea, and ArtsWest’s execution, I give a standing ovation! I think it can really excite younger audiences, less prone to going to theater and feeling like it speaks to them.

The energetic rock opera, created off Green Day’s album, meant to mimic long-form records like The Who’s Tommy, is the story of three slackers and their rejection of society and desire to find out what else the wide world has to offer. Johnny (Fredrick Hagreen) goes off to do drugs, fall in love with WhatserName (Kirsten DeLohr Helland) and shoot up drugs courtesy of his dream nemesis St. Jimmy (Trent Moury). Will (Michael Coale Grey) finds out his girlfriend Heather (Chelsea LeValley) is pregnant and reluctantly decides to stay put. Tunny (Justin Huertas) gets mesmerized by Army commercials, joins up, get wounded and tended to by Extraordinary Girl (in this case Guy Jimmie Herrod).

Director Eric Ankrim and a pretty extraordinary team of musicians, choreographers, and support from a small theater turning up the heat deliver a blast of a show, with a young, eager ensemble of musical theater star-babies.

They’ve put a rather enormous effort into this, but it may well pay off in general excitement. Especially if you like the sound of this and go IMMERSE yourself!

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