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'American Idiot' rocks Chicago!

Last night was the Chicago opening of the Green Day musical "American Idiot" and I was there.

The trend of taking the songbooks of popular musical artists and turning them into Broadway musicals has found its way into the early 2000's trying to bring younger audiences to live theater. The latest to come to Chicago¬Öthe national tour of Green Day's "American Idiot."

The 2004 album, turned into an edgy rock musical, is manic and full of anarchy but also is a poetic and thoughtful look at a few months in the lives of three suburban kids - bored with life and looking for something more finding drugs, war and pregnancy along the way.

Just over 90 minutes without an intermission, the show is "Rent"-like in its bohemian rawness that shoots out at the audience like a canon. It stays at high octane energy with great performances, vocally and also with amazing, non-stop choreography - even an aerial ballet fantasy sequence that's a highlight.

Green Day fans will like the show better than newcomers to the post 9/11 anthems, but everyone will relate to the well-told story of youthful hope and disappointment.

Even though there are lots of sexual and language issues that might not be appropriate for everyone, I'm recommending "American Idiot" at the Ford Center at the Oriental Theater through February 19th.

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