Tag Archives: Green Day

Dear American Idiots: A Rant and Rave Review

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I would like to start this blog with a letter to the people sitting next to me…<clears throat>

Dear People Sitting in Row V seats 103-106 on Thursday evening (2/20):

First, I’d like to thank you for arriving 20 minutes into the play.  I am sure whatever you were doing was more important than being on time.  If we’d known you were going to be tardy to the party we would have asked the cast, orchestra/band, production crew, ushers and theatre staff to hold the play.  Second, thank you for drawing a ton of attention to yourselves from me, the people behind you, and in front of you because I know whatever you were talking about as you sat down was super poignant and needed to be stated right then. Third and lastly, thank you for letting everyone around you know how insanely bored, uninterested, or whatever displeasure you were feeling, it was really no bother to lend one ear while the other was concentrated on the performance we paid to see.  I am writing because I wanted to make sure you were OK. You just seemed like you had a rough evening….I hope you had a better Friday and that your weekend is a respite from the cruel world of elegant DC dinners and theatre subscriptions.

On second thought, you probably should have been paying attention.  The behavior you exhibited – sighing, chatting, resting your head on the seat in front of you, groaning – you were literally exhibiting the characteristics of an American idiot. I’m sure some where at home you have your own disaffected youth.  I have no doubt they’ve received many lessons on entitlement and petulance right there at home.  When you first entered the theater, my guess was that you had enjoyed dinner so much that you were late and slightly tipsy which I can forgive.  However, your behavior became rude and inconsiderate.  If you were disappointed in the performance in any way, that’s unfortunate.  I was recently at a performance of a band that I found to be terrible but I sat there quietly (I probably didn’t look overjoyed) but I focused on the happy people around me dancing to the unbelievably bad music and watched the sign language interpreter who kicked complete ass.  I mention that to relate to you that there are better ways of channeling your frustration.

You didn’t ruin my theater experience…by the time you arrived I was enthralled and emotionally invested…the music grabbed my heart and didn’t let it go.  What you didn’t know was that for  1 1/2 hours my brother was alive in that room and I was flooded with love and more emotion that I can adequately describe.  My wish for you is that you open your heart to different types of experiences….don’t let yourself be limited because you will miss something beautiful if you’re not careful.

Yours musically,

Row V Seat 107

IMG_4067Now that the unpleasantness is over – Seeing American Idiot on Thursday night was a last-minute decision.  The play was on my radar while on Broadway and then when I heard the tour was coming to National Theatre….I must have mentioned my desire to see it 100 times.  However, my elopement, a destination wedding, a reception and a honeymoon makes a girl feel guilty about spending a couple hundred bucks on theatre tickets.  Enter Goldstar – luckily I do read most of my emails for deals around town because they had Orchestra seats for $55 bucks!  I’m glad I clicked that button because Thursday night was one of the most moving performances I have ever seen.

Green Day and I go back 20 years. Dookie came out while I was in high school…when I was at my grungiest…Ok I wasn’t grunge – I maybe wore some plaid while trying to channel my inner Angela Chase.  So as a Green Day fan and musical theatre fan – Worlds collided and it wasn’t a disappointment!  Unless you’ve been in a music black hole for the past ten years you’ve heard Wake Me When September Ends, American Idiot, 21 Guns  and Boulevard of Broken Dreams…they’re on mainstream radio…digestible for the rock god in all of us.  There is no time for recovery once the music begins – you’re pulled in and with little dialogue the lyrical journey doesn’t let up.

The entire cast was strong from vocals to choreography but there were a few stand out performances.  Mariah MacFarlane as Heather stole the show vocally for me.  She was clear and crisp – and the subtle humor of her storyline was delivered flawlessly.  Another outstanding vocal performance came from Casey O’Farrell as Will.  When he opened his mouth each time my head immediately whipped away from whatever else was happening on stage to look at him. AND Andrew Humann (hopefully it’s the right guy) embodied Billie Joe Armstrong – I’m not sure if was intentional or not but that dude has studied the body movement and facial expressions of Billie Joe and it was amazing to watch…Slightly distracting but in a good way.  It really is unfair just to call out these three because it is truly an outstanding cast…and I must give a nod to Dan Tracy – he was excellent as Tunny and liked my picture on Instagram.  There truly isn’t a weak element to the show from the music to the choreography to the band to staging – it’s really incredible to watch.

I have a history of being overwhelmed emotionally at theatre performances – Wicked brought tears to my eyes and I think I got misty during If/Then and I definitely cried during an entire Idina Menzel performance – In fairness to myself on that one, I had just been delivered some bad news.  I don’t cry often – I leave in theatre seat – It’s just musical theatre that does it to me, I swear!  There is no other way to put it – I cried.  I cried like a little girl.  I don’t think that is the general reaction most people will have but – Green Day reminds me of my brother.  He passed away in 2005 – I wanted to play Good Riddance at his funeral but instead I sang Amazing Grace…He was a disaffected youth…his alter ego St. Jimmy won.  So what I saw on stage was in part real life…life I’ve witnessed and life I’ve lost.  For my brother’s would be 30th birthday I had music notes from Good Riddance tattooed on to my foot. The song reminds me of both him and a video montage in college using that song with a picture perfect for an album cover of myself and some friends walking across bright green grass.IMG_4068 So it should come to no surprise to you when I say that I think every musical should end with the entire cast playing acoustic guitar and singing Good Riddance!  That was an amazing surprise and well executed!

While I do think this is a show for adults of all ages to me it probably holds more meaning and connectivity to the late 20s to early 40s crowd…I’m giving people in their late 20s the benefit of the doubt…because I really wanted to say early 30s. Musical purist and theatre snobs – please open your ears, hearts and minds and give this piece a chance to move you – don’t just occupy your subscription seat with apathy.

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December Remembers….

Today (12/10)…it has been 7 years…the tears have dried and the sadness waned…but there is an empty space in memories, in pictures, in chairs, at occasions and even conversation…in trips down memory lane the space is filled…but the memories have a cut off date…they stopped for me on Thanksgiving day 2005…some people got a few more days but not much more…It’s amazing how one adjusts to that space…for it can never be filled and it is always there…It has to be…because you’ve lost a person that can never be replaced by another…My brother passed away 7 years ago from a drug overdose…I’ve long compartmentalized parts of my life so I don’t offend people, bring up painful memories, shock and amaze…but I’ve reached a crossroads where I don’t see the point…I’m not saying that I’ll put it all on the table any time soon…However, I wanted to find a way to tie in my other blog with my new blog…so this feels like the perfect segue…I started a blog a few years back dedicated to addiction, grief and all the gunk that comes a long with being related to an addict…but it came to feel like it either would become wallowing or soap boxy…I didn’t think either would be helpful…Below are excerpts from an old entry about the day I found out my brother was gone…

…I hung up the phone…relived the conversation with C…then began speculating the reason for the impromptu jaunt to Columbia…it’s only an hour drive and popular Saturday activity for my mom to shop with me…but I went to far sinister places quickly…Uncle G was with mom – my first thought was that Grandaddy was dead…but then why would Uncle G have driven with mom…someone would need to be with Granny…so then I guessed you were dead…but brushed it off…maybe someone was in the hospital…or these guys just wanted to head down to Yesterday’s in Five Points for dinner…

Mom was sitting on the steps of the apartment building when I arrived…Uncle G was silent except for saying to me…that it was really bad or that it wasn’t good…I knew already anyway…I was just waiting for the words…

“He’s dead,” said matter-of-factly…but really what other way is there to say it…I think I yelled, “no, no, no” or something similar…I remember C’s hand flying to her mouth then immediately backing out of the room…at a loss for words…I hate she was there…not b/c I didn’t want her there but…come on, that’s awkward…

I’m not sure if I lost my vision, my ability to hear (as a result of a mild panic attack and shock), or just immediately tuned out…which apparently is my initial reaction to most things…I immediately wanted to be alone but I couldn’t…they were there and wanted to comfort me…but I needed a minute to breathe…It didn’t come….mom was feverishly packing my clothes…I wanted to do it myself…I know I just needed to control the situation…but I felt like I was watching it happen in slow motion…I was grasping at anything to give myself a sense of control and balance in this chaotic moment…I had to ride with them leaving my car behind and the hope of a desperately needed hour alone to check in with myself…calm myself, make a plan for dealing with two grieving parents and the rest of the family…Mom put her head in my lap and cried most of the way home…we had to make a few calls on that drive some I remember, some I still don’t…

There is a lot that I don’t remember about those initial hours…but I knew our lives would never be the same again…our worst fears had come true…the years of jumping at phone calls that came at odd hours…the wait to see how many days you would go missing hoping that you weren’t in an alley…preparing mentally for the time that the phone or doorbell rang to deliver the news…preparing to help cope…but hoping that the news would never really come…

Years have passed since that day and I look now to celebrating in some small way the life that ended…My brother would have turned 30 this year…and even though he will be perpetually 23…I wanted to mark the milestone with a gift…something fun to remember…so I got a tattoo…I feel that at 33 I have reached an age to finally make lifelong decisions…Music makes me happy…it enters my mind constantly and I can tie a song to most events in my life…so I chose music notes but not just music notes…notes to Green Day’s song Good Riddance…

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Hope you had the time of your life…

There isn’t much you can do about a person sized hole in your life…it’s kind of like the phrase…pink elephant in the middle of the room…there is no way to look around it or ignore it…sometimes it makes other people uncomfortable…even though you’re past the shock of it…but if you’re the person on the path to leave the person sized hole in someone’s life…you can do something about it…If you’re reading this, you still have time…If you think no one cares, you’re wrong…If you think the people you get high with care, they don’t (well not in the way they should)…If you think recovery is hard, you’re right…but it’s possible…being sober won’t solve all of your problems but it could save your life…

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