'American Idiot' comes to Sarasota

The Broadway hit based on the Green Day album will be at Van Wezel

April 3, 2014 

"Green Day's' American Idiot" will premiere at 8 p.m. April 7 at the Van Wezel in Sarasota. PUBLICITY PHOTO


Even if you love both Broadway musicals and punk rock, you have to be a little wary when the twain meet. You'd have to suspect that the show would end up in an unappealing middle ground.

But "American Idiot," the hit musical built around the classic 2004 album by Green Day, really works.

Like the album, the show is a sort of rock opera that details the lives of angry suburban kids.

Broadway director Michael Mayer ("Spring Awakening." "Thoroughly Modern Millie") worked with Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong to transfer the music from disc to stage.

Armstrong didn't make too many compromises to mainstream palatability. The show is raucous and rough, much closer in style and attitude to punk than to any traditional musical.

A touring production is coming Monday to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota for one show only.

There's a story line but you probably won't be able to follow it in any detail unless you know the album very well. The music, played by an on-stage band, and the choreography and the design are what makes the show exciting. "American Idiot" earned Tony Awards for set and lighting design, but Green Day's songs and the show's energetic and innovative dance are just as impressive.

Details: 8 p.m. April 7, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $50-$80 Information: 941-953-3368, www.vanwezel.org.

-- Marty Clear

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