Ad Astra’s ‘American Idiot’ rocks audiences

Ali Dade

Ad Astra Theatre Ensemble’s current production of Green Day’s American Idiot is guaranteed to leave you feeling ready to rock out.

American Idiot is a stage adaptation of the album of the same name by punk-rock band Green Day.

The plot of the musical centers around three young men, Johnny, Tunny and Will as they navigate the struggles of their lives in a post 9/11 world. The three are presumed to be roommates at the beginning of the show, but are separated and put into the middle of very harsh situations. As they try to escape the state of their current lives.

Johnny, played by Braxton Hunt, struggles with the notion of finding his place in the world as a musician and writer, while also developing a drug addiction.

Tunny, played by Aaron Senne, enlists to fight in the war in Iraq and fights with recovery.

Will, played by Alex Krumins, is hoping to leave his hometown and make it big as a musician, when he discovers his girlfriend, Heather, is pregnant.

These three men, specifically, played their roles spectacularly.

The show truly did the best-selling album justice. There was minimal talking in the show, as most of the plot was conveyed just through song and action, but this was done so fantastically. The dialogue that is typically present in musicals was not missed at all, and I hardly even noticed the absence because of how well the cast conveyed the plot just through action and musical tone.

One of the elements of the show that I particularly enjoyed was the character of St. Jimmy, played by Jennifer Forman in this production. The character of St. Jimmy is a human personification of the drug abuse Johnny struggles with. Any time we see Johnny do drugs, or have the typical behaviors of an addict, St. Jimmy is the one who is encouraging him; handing him the baggie of drugs or holding the lighter for him.

Ad Astra’s production of American Idiot would have been a flawless performance if not for some very minor technical flaws. There were a handful of occurrences in the show in which one of the leads microphone would sputter as they were singing, or would not work when they began to sing, but would eventually come back.

After the show had ended, the cast and crew took the stage and invited the audience to join them in singing and dancing to other Green Day hits.

Ad Astra allowed minimal recording and photography during the show, and asked for the audience to post these picture and videos on social media using the following hashtags: #AdAstraTheatre, #AmericanIdiotTopeka, #F***ingIdiots and #HomegrownTheatre.

Rating: 4/5 stars