AMERICAN IDIOT opens at the Black Box
I saw an AMERICAN IDIOT in Kansas City, and I liked it. Produced by Padgett Productions, AMERICAN IDIOT explodes onto the stage of The Black Box in Kansas City, Missouri. With only a short four-day run, it’s starting to give theater-hungry residents hope that live theater may be starting to return to the metro area. The invigorating and at times soulful punk rock musical began on August 19 and will run through August 22.
Nick Padgett, artistic production director of Padgett Productions, produced, directed and musical directored the show based on the 2004 concept album by punk rock group Green Day of the same name. Intended to be played in the backyard outside The Black Box, Friday night’s production had to be hastily moved to an indoor production due to severe storms forecast in the area later that night. Padgett Productions did a masterful job changing rooms at the last moment.
AMERICAN IDIOT is the story of Johnny, Will and Tunny who grow up in the suburbs. Their frustration with the state of the union is illustrated when they explode in the first issue, “American Idiot”. Johnny soon buys tickets for the three to travel to the big city and leave their city of the damned. Before leaving, his girlfriend Heather tells Will that she is pregnant and in the song “Tales of Another Broken Home” tells them that he cannot accompany them. Once in town, Tunny joins the military and is deployed to a war zone, while Will begins to show less interest in Heather, and Johnny gets involved with a girl, Whatsername, and manifests St. Jimmy as a way to explain his drug use.
Jordan Lankhorst gives a playoff performance as Johnny, blasting the audience with a wonderful voice while pulling on their sensitive chords with her facial expressions and body language. Benjamin Hart looks great in St. Jimmy, as does Scotty Sharp in Will and Timothy Houston in Tunny. Kristen Altoro plays Whatsername, Tessa Hake as extraordinary girl, Mia Valentine as Heather. Chelsea Anglemyer, Dennis Crowl, Brooke Ariel Calderone, Lacy Goetting, Nicole Hall, Logan Mathes, Christoph Nevins and TJ Warren feature in several roles. Although several of the cast members played musical instruments, the group consisted of Apafia Jurkiewicz-Miles, Tim Braselton, Christina Jennings Dyer, Benjamin Hart, Mark Johnson, and Nick Panda. Hart and Jurkiewicz-Miles shared the functions of musical directors.
AMERICAN IDIOT was such a spectacular production that I hope Padgett Productions brings it back to Kansas City in the years to come. Padgett Productions supports the Kansas City local government mandate with respect to the current Covid 19 pandemic.
Photos by Jessica Kent-Deterding courtesy of Padgett Productions