The Playgoer: Not Rockin' the House

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Not Rockin' the House

Which Broadway show had the lowest attendance last week?

Would you believe: American Idiot?  Yep, 53.3% capacity.

So much for getting the kids back to Broadway.

Personally, I found the show kind of fresh for the first twenty minutes, or so.  (The first three numbers.)  The music sounded great for, basically, a Green Day tribute band.  The kids sang their hearts out.  There were young folks in the audience and they were groovin'.

Then something went wrong with the script--you realized there was none. I think director/conceiver Michael Mayer made a big mistake taking care of the "book" himself and not bringing in an actual playwright. Not that it needed lots of dialogue or more "bridge" passages.  But anything to make it less like the meandering Jukebox Musical it essentially is.  The aim seems to have been to emulate the free-form structure that ur-Rock Musical, Hair. (After all, the kids are basically a "tribe.")  But the myopic patched together narrative of three boys and their stupid problems just don't rise to the big stakes the Hair conveys.  Yes, one of the kids goes off to Iraq and loses a leg, but by the end,'s like... it's all good, yo.

At least the show is short, at an intermissionless 90 minutes.  But it could have been even shorter if Mayer didn't tack on at least three extra endings.  And do you really want to end your show--any show--by having the entire cast sing straight out at the audience, "I hope you had the time of your lives..."  Um, a little presumptuous, aren't we?


Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Exactly! I agree with everything you've said.

Unknown said...

Yep. Thank you.

Ahwell... Pretty appropriate set, at least.

Anonymous said...

Also agree with you entirely. I'd add one more reason the "script" fails: Why would ANY woman be interested in that slacker, selfish, clueless protagonist? The romance element is so completely implausible.