The 2017-18 Wharton season is titled “Divergent Voices,” and American Idiot definitely fits the theme. According to the MSU Theatre Department Chair Kirk Domer, this is especially relevant “in a time where debate may be equivalent to yelling; where respect can only mean similar points of view; where we all seem to only agree on disagreement. Theatre must do what it was created to do [and] offer an outlet for divergent voices.” With American Idiot, MSU’s theatre students plan to make their voices heard.
American Idiot is a two-time Tony-Award-winning musical that features music from Green Day’s albums American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. Originally based in a post 9/11 world, the play followed three young men who are struggling to find their place in a broken America. Though the plot is the same, MSU’s performance will take place in 2018 instead.
“American Idiot is a violent rallying cry for American youth who feel disenfranchised, powerless and pissed off as they search for meaning in a coming-of-age story set to the passionately violent music of Green Day,” Director Brad Willcuts said. “As the director and co-choreographer of the show, I am especially excited for this musical since I have a personal connection to the music of Green Day. Roughly 25 years ago, I purchased Green Day’s cassette tape album Dookie and it was the soundtrack to my rebellious youth. Roughly 15 years ago, the album American Idiot came out as an Emmy award winning concept album that was also in response to the Bush presidency and the war. Rather than portray 2003, we are going to set the show in 2018 so the cast has their own voice and the audience can experience the serendipitous connections between present day America and 15 years ago.”
The performance gives senior students a chance to find their voices one last time at MSU as well.
“The cast is primarily made of up graduating seniors who will perform for the last time at MSU in American Idiot,” Willcuts said. “This is a bittersweet moment since I have worked with so many of them on other projects or in the classroom, and it will be hard to see them graduate, even though I know they will head out and conquer the world.”
Be sure to see American Idiot in the Wharton Center’s Pasant Theatre through April 22. For tickets and more information go to whartoncenter.com.