Gabrielle McClinton (Whatserame) and Van Hughes (Johnny) in AMERICAN IDIOT
Photo credit: Doug Hamilton
Part of any theatrical project includes the major challenge of sending a message to the audience and having the audience experience an emotional reaction. This challenge for many can be complicated due to the multitude of cultures and generations seeing live theater today. For many, they have to choose which culture/generation they are going to attempt to reach. American idiot does what few productions are able to do. They successfully send different messages to the audience based upon their own personal life experiences, in such a way that everyone, no matter the culture/generation finds a way to relate to, and take something away from, the production.
Different generations of theatergoers walk away from the play experiencing different reactions from personal direct similarities to the three main story lines, to having friends that experienced those things, to having children or parents that went through those trials. Whether or not we are about to experience, are currently experiencing, have experienced, or have simply viewed other people experiencing things similar to the plot lines, the emotional reactions caused by American Idiot are substantial. They tend to linger to the extent that, as time passes and the audience member dwells on the experience, the love and understanding for this great production grows. Whether or not you are a green day fan or not, this show has something for everyone. There is only one person I have met that didn’t ‘get it,’ and ironically it is a theatre person that is trying to relate to the ‘young people’ today, something we talked about before here.
Some people I’ve spoken with that have yet to see American Idiot tend to think the show is just a tribute to Green Day. It is not. The show takes the music from Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ album, which already has a kind of story, fills in the holes, and presents a musical with full and rich plot lines onto the stage. In this way, whether or not you are a fan of Green Day, you will still be able to enjoy this musical. American Idiot is truly a great theatrical experience in every aspect. If you have not gone yet, see the national tour of American Idiot at The Ahmanson Theatre, or where ever you can.
For the normal person audience member:
If money is tight, you have a few options, we went there at about 5:30pm and signed up for the lottery, you fill out a form, and at 6pm they announce the winners. The winners get $30 tickets for the first and second rows of the theatre. If you go on a slower day, like a Tuesday like we did, everyone that signed up for the lottery won. If you for some reason don’t win you can ask the box office to purchase Hot Tix. Hot Tix are $20 last minute tickets, generally seated in the balcony. Not great seats, but who’s complaining since they were $20. The $30 lottery is definitely the way to experience this show so you can see the plethora of details that make this production the success that it is. (You could also attempt to get goldstar tickets ahead of time here.) I know I know, you are thinking, “but if we go out to see a show at Center Theater Group there is no place for cheap food or drinks anywhere near there!”
Let me just say, oh ye of little faith, would we ever do that to you?
We have finally found an amazing solution to this. The restaurant is McCormick & Schmick’s and they have happy hour Mon-Fri from 3pm-10pm. What does this mean for you? $3.95 ½ lb cheeseburgers. Which was one of the best cheeseburgers I’ve had in some time, and I’m from the Midwest! That, along with $3.50 14 oz. draft beers, a good selection I might add, makes this the perfect pre-show drinking hole. Here is their happy hour menu.
We had just enough time to win the lottery, run to McCormick and Schmicks, order and eat a 4-buck awesome cheeseburger and fries, down a Sam Adams and a whiskey and head back to the theater just in time to sit down and enjoy an amazing show! No more overpriced theater drinks for you, now you know the secret… shhhhhh…. Don’t tell too many people, or everyone might actually enjoy himself or herself without breaking the bank.
One more thing I want to mention, American Idiot is also participating in “Broadway Cares” Which is a charity that awards grants to AIDS service organizations nationwide. As a man who has ridden in AIDS Lifecycle, (which is still looking for more riders this year, BTW) I am all about the cause. PLUS if you donate $40, you get a window card (some refer to them as posters) signed by the whole cast! A normal, unsigned, window card generally goes for around $20 bucks. So if you shell out $40 clams, then you get to help an amazing organization fight AIDS, as well as walk home with a great souvenir. It’s a win win!