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'American Idiot' to open on Broadway in April

David Ng
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

It's official. The much-talked-about and blogged-about Green Day musical "American Idiot" has an opening date on Broadway. Producers of the show announced Tuesday that it will open April 20 at the St. James Theatre in New York.

"American Idiot" features music from the Green Day album of the same name, but it does not star members of the popular San Francisco Bay Area punk band. The musical had its world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, Calif., in September. Tony-winner Michael Mayer, who staged the Berkeley Rep production, also will direct the Broadway version of the show.

The plot of the musical follows the journey of the protagonist Johnny, a modern-day Christ figure who travels from a suburban nowhere to the big city, where he must choose between love, drugs and other existential dilemmas. The story also follows a character to the Middle East.

Mayer wrote the book for the musical with Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead vocalist-guitarist for Green Day.

There is no announcement on casting for the Broadway engagement. For the Berkeley Rep production, Tony-winner John Gallagher Jr. played in the lead role alongside Rebecca Naomi Jones and Tony Vincent.

Steven Hoggett will choreograph the Broadway production and Tony-winning composer Tom Kitt will serve as the music supervisor, orchestrator and music arranger. Kitt also contributed string arrangements to Green Day's album "21st Century Breakdown."

In his review of the Berkeley Rep production, Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty called the musical "kinetically entertaining" but added that the plot remains unsatisfying and that the characters are underdeveloped.

Berkeley Rep said that "American Idiot" was the highest-grossing production in its history. The production was extended twice and concluded its run on Nov. 15.

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If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

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60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

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Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

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Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

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