Written by 7:32 pm fullerton, Fullerton Community College, Musical, Review, Uncategorized

Green Day’s American Idiot @ Fullerton Community College in Fullerton – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Green Day’s American Idiot was created by Billie Joe Armstrong from the pop-punk group Green Day and was based on the band’s album American Idiot 21st Century Breakdown. Since Armstrong is not known for being part of the musical theatre scene, it was a surprise to find out in 2010 that he was releasing a musical on Broadway. What wasn’t surprising was the musical’s tone and message. It was textbook Green Day –punk rock with polish. American Idiot (the album) was released during the time of the George W. Bush administration, so some of the play’s politics are anchored to that time frame. Still, Director Tim Espinosa kept this version more current and committed to the musical’s rebellious spirit: taking jabs at Trump, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and much more. The theatrics and music in the show are quite overwhelming, but the stage is a treat to behold. On the other hand, the story feels relatively weak and-when compared with the other outside theatrics –makes the show feel imbalanced at times.


The story of American Idiot follows three friends: Johnny, played by Tony Torrico, Tunny, played by Zachary Bane and Will, played by Brandon Burns. Tired of their suburban lives, they all leave home and go on different paths. Johnny follows his heart while struggling with drug use. Disillusioned with life, Tunny joins the military and gets severely injured in the war. Will finds himself stuck at home after finding out he impregnated his girlfriend, Heather. As the story unfolds, we watch these characters struggle through life until they meet once again at the show’s end. The story is the weakest part of this production and is probably why this show received more technical than performance awards. The show’s pacing is non-stop song after song, and there’s little time for catching your breath and getting to know the characters. The message is clear throughout the production, but the story itself is incredibly muffled and hard to keep track of if you’re going into it fresh. The show is almost more like a concert than a musical, with maybe a few more lines of dialogue between each song.

Jessie Wise playing St. Jimmy Photo Courtesy: Fullerton Community College


The show shines with the best set design I’ve seen all year. Kevin Clowes’ set design for this show is exceptional. The space exhibits a grungy punk lifestyle. From the Dead Kennedy posters to the dingy couch put out in the front left-hand corner of the stage and the politically charged TVs hanging from the top of the stage, it gets you amped right from the moment you walk into the theatre. Everyone involved in putting this set piece together should be proud of such professional work.


Performance-wise, the aggression and energy I was looking for in this production were all there. The music played by the band Feste would sometimes drown out the performers, who might not be used to singing in the loud style this music requires. However, this was not the case with many of the performers. Tony Torrico was right at home onstage the entire show and was an excellent choice for the part. Johnny Torricio shines in the moments when it’s just him and an acoustic guitar –even without much help from the mics in the auditorium. Parker Griffin –who plays Joshua and is not even one of the main characters in the story –was exceptional every time he came on stage. Jessie Wise’s performance as St. Jimmy was incredibly spirited and full of personality. I loved it.

The dancing and inspiring rope gymnastic moments Lauren Louis performed made this show energetic and fun to watch.

Great Show

8.5 Overall
8.1 Users (2 votes)
Set & Design10
What people say... 2 Leave your rating
March 19, 2017, 6:15 pm
Set & Design10
American Idiot
It was good, a lot of technical issues that needed to be resolved in order to showcase the actors more.
March 11, 2017, 9:14 pm
Set & Design7
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March 9,10,11,15 2017




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