The Fullerton College Theatre Arts Department’s “American Idiot”, an adaptation of rock-band Green Day’s 2004 rock-opera album of the same name, came to life inside the Fullerton College Campus Theatre on Thursday, March 9.
The wayward protagonist, Johnny, who was wonderfully performed by Tony Torrico, sought a new life outside of suburbia and moved to the city in search of meaning in a modern and diluted America.
Torrico’s performance, full of bright energy and blistering passion, was the highlight of the show – particularly because he has experienced Johnny’s life.
“I felt like I’ve lived this life a thousand times.”Torrico said. “This album came out when I graduated high school, it was a big part of my life.”
“When this show came about, I had to take the opportunity to do it, because this is my life. The show is very cathartic.”
Torrico’s performance was complemented by his cast-mates, including Hasti Bakian, who played Whatshername – Johnny’s love interest and later enabler as they spiraled into hedonistic heroin use together.
Johnny’s idealism could only carry him so far into the city until the lives of him and his friends, Will and Tunny, played by Brandon Burns and Zachary Bane, turned sour.
Johnny developed an alter-ego named St. Jimmy, enthusiastically performed by Jessie Wise, who constantly enabled Johnny to submit to his every desire, both carnal and drugged.
Will becomes a young father and seeks alcohol as a respite, leaving his baby’s mother to scorn him and leave with his child. Tunny enlists in the military, expecting heroism, only to suffer a major wound after being shot.
It’s a rough turn for the characters, who use music as a medium to express their emotions and is greatly soundtracked by the in-house band Feste. The band performed every song of the night passionately despite having audio issues.
A wide cast of characters who surrounded the group of friends guided them through the tumultuous periods of their lives, engaging in song and dance, which were both composed and choreographed fantastically.
After Johnny abandoned his alter-ego St. Jimmy, he sold his guitar and moved back home to suburbia, where he runs into his old friends Will and Tunny in a 7/11 convenience store.
The cast of characters all came together in the end, lamenting on their journeys and feeling a sense of optimism, closing the show with a performance of Green Day’s hit “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” in unison.
“The show is absolutely important right now. There are immigrants in this cast, I’m the son of an immigrant. I’m worried about paying for my health care. I’m worried about paying for my education. The fact that we can pour that into our art is important,” Torrico said.
“American Idiot” will run on Saturday March 10 and Sunday March 11. Advance tickets are $12.50 and tickets at the door are $15.