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American Idiot - The Musical

Album Cover

A Musical in 1 Act: Music Green Day; Lyrics, Billie Joe Armstrong; Book, Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer based on American Idiot (Green Day, 2004)

Premiered - 2009 Berkeley Repertory Theatre: transferred to Broadway at the St. James Theatre; previews from 24th March, 2010; opened 20th April April, 2010.


The musical opens on Johnny, Will and Tunny, three twenty-something friends unhappily living in suburbia (identified as Jingletown, USA) and saturated with TV. The three feel numbed by their mundane lives and decide to escape. Johnny (aka Jesus of Suburbia) borrows money from his mother and buys bus tickets to the city for himself and his friends. Will, however, learns that his girlfriend, Heather, is pregnant and decides to stay with her. Johnny and Tunny leave on a bus for the city with a group of other bored youths.

While Johnny wanders the city and pines for a woman he sees in an apartment window, Tunny finds it hard to adjust to urban life and is seduced by a flashy television ad for the army. Tunny realises that all his life, he has been waiting, waiting for something, and that his generation has been so numbed by television that nothing, not even the bright lights of the city, will excite him and enlists in the army.

Frustrated by his friend's departure and his inability to find girls or fun, Johnny comes into contact with a charismatic, Marilyn Manson-like drug dealer who calls himself "St. Jimmy", and experiences the rush of heroin for the first time with Jimmy at his side.

As Johnny medicates himself with heroin, Will sits on the couch as his girlfriend goes further into her pregnancy, drinking beer and begging for some kind of release. Tunny is deployed to a war zone, presumably Iraq (images of the March 2003 "shock and awe" campaign are seen on the TV screens in the background). He is shot and wounded.

Jimmy has given Johnny exactly what he wanted: girls and fun. After spending the night with the girl he saw in the window, whom he calls "Whatsername", Johnny and Whatsername go to a club and take drugs together, sharing an addiction. They begin taking part in sexual intercourse.

Will has difficulty accepting the idea of fatherhood, and Heather becomes increasingly irritated with his immaturity. Despite his entreaties to stay, she eventually leaves him, taking their baby with her. Will laments that everyone he cared for has abandoned him.

Lying in a bed in an army hospital, Tunny hallucinates about him and his nurse engaged in an almost-balletic aerial dance. He falls in love with her.

Jimmy reappears and offers Johnny drugs, but he refuses, watching Whatsername sleep, Johnny muses on their relationship. But the temptation is too great, and Jimmy infects his mind, causing his behaviour to become increasingly erratic, and he eventually threatens Whatsername, then himself, with a knife. Whatsername attempts to calm him down, while the Extraordinary Girl dresses Tunny's wounds and Will sits on the couch, once again alone. Whatsername decides she can't deal anymore, leaves Johnny, but not before revealing that St. Jimmy was a manifestation of his rage against his parents and the establishment and his source of comfort to be able to live.

Johnny is forced to admit that his stepfather, Brad, was right - his life had amounted to nothing. St. Jimmy appears and makes one last attempt to get Johnny's attention, but that part of him has died, and Jimmy commits suicide. Johnny cleans up and gets a desk job, but eventually realises that isn't his destiny either. He returns to his hometown and is reunited with Tunny (who has returned from war with the Extraordinary Girl as an amputee) and Will (who has also been reunited with his child). At the end, a year later, Johnny laments that he lost the love of his life, Whatsername, and wonders where she is and what she's doing.


Musical Numbers:

  1. American Idiot
  2. Jesus Of Suburbia
    1. Jesus Of Suburbia/II.
    2. City Of The Damned
    3. I Don't Care
    4. Dearly Beloved
    5. Tales Of Another Broken Home
  3. Holiday
  4. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
  5. Favorite Son
  6. Are We The Waiting
  7. St. Jimmy
  8. Give Me Novacaine
  9. Last Of The American Girls/She's A Rebel
  10. Last Night On Earth
  11. Too Much Too Soon
  12. Before The Lobotomy
  13. Extraordinary Girl
  14. Before The Lobotomy [Reprise]
  15. When It's Time
  16. Know Your Enemy
  17. 21 Guns
  18. Letterbomb
  19. Wake Me Up When September Ends
  20. Homecoming
    1. The Death Of St. Jimmy
    2. East 12th St.
    3. Nobody Likes You
    4. Rock And Roll Girlfriend
    5. We're Coming Home Again
  21. Whatsername
  22. When It's Time