‘Idiot’s’ youthful energy a boon
In recent years, DOMA Theatre Company has gained renown for crack professional productions of Broadway musicals. No exception to that trend, the group’s current production, “Green Day’s American Idiot” at the MET, is Broadwaycaliber in almost every particular — a triumph of ingenuity over the constraints of a small theater.
However, all the razzle and dazzle of this consummate staging can’t distract from the limitations of the material. Green Day’s rock opera album turned musical, with lyrics by frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, provides the perfect format for a group of virtuosic performers to exercise their precociously professional chops.
Indeed, their sheer youthful energy sustains the excitement for a large part of the action, but it soon becomes apparent that the book, by Armstrong and Michael Mayer, the director who shaped the Broadway show, is on par with a high school girl’s goth poetry, too thin a framework to support the weight of such headbanging and generalized angst. Then again, ah, youth.
The sophomoric plot concerns three best friends — disaffected suburban youths who take radically different paths to adulthood. Johnny (Jess Ford) opts for the big city, falls in love with Whatsername (Renee Cohen) and is lured into addiction by flashy punker St. Jimmy (Andrew Diego). Tunny (Chris Kerrigan) also leaves home and quickly joins the military, where he is grievously wounded. Will (Wesley Moran) remains behind upon learning that his girlfriend Heather (Jackee Bianchi) is pregnant.
John Iacovelli’s scenic design, Jean-Yves Tessier’s lighting and Julie Ferrin’s sound are all worthy of special mention, but Michael Mullen’s glitzy-goth costumes stand out amid the superb design elements. Director Marco Gomez, choreographer Angela Todaro and musical director Chris Raymond deliver the goods, and the terrific performers sweep us up in their commitment. Future headliners all, they take a lemon of a story and brew up something close to ambrosia.
ANDREW DIEGO portrays f lashy punker St. Jimmy in “Green Day’s American Idiot” at the MET.