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Opening Night Review: Green Day's American Idiot Musical

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Jordan Kessler

Associate Director, Membership, New York

Over the past many years, I've had the privilege to work, on behalf of NRDC, with Green Day and Adrienne Armstrong, wife of the band's lead singer Billie Joe. You can check out our work together at

Last night, I had the good fortune of being in the audience at the Opening Night for the band's new Broadway musical, American Idiot.

To say I was blown away would be an understatement. Every element of the show -- the stage set, the choreography, the quality of the performers, and of course Green Day's great songs -- worked fantastically well, as The New York Times pointed out in this morning's glowing review.

But what struck me, more than anything, is how well the musical visually fleshed out the stories in the band's songs. The characters in American Idiot are struggling to find meaning in their lives, surrounded by a hostile world that doesn't seem to care about them or give them many meaningful ways to engage with each other. On the surface, they've got rage about their predicament, but just below it, they've got love, struggling to come out. In the end, they come to accept themselves and finally do connect.

All this does, in fact, make me think about NRDC's work. There are a lot of us out there, including me, who are angry about the way the world is and what's being done to us, the boxes we're being shoved into. We want to fight back in a meaningful way -- to say, no, that's wrong, you can't do that, and I'm going to speak out about it. That's what NRDC is all about, I'm reminded, as I'm reading an advance copy of the great, upcoming book about NRDC's 40-year history by one of my heroes, NRDC Founding Director John Adams.

P.S. Fuse TV is airing tomorrow (Earth Day) the latest Green Day + NRDC clip and a ton of other Green Day videos.

This piece appears on NRDC's Switchboard.


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