"American Idiot" is no dummy when it comes to timing.
First, if you're going to push a show onto a Broadway stage in this era, it's gotta rock. Show tunes, schmo tunes -- the most intriguing hits in New York these days are rock musicals. "Million Dollar Quartet," "Memphis," "Jersey Boys," "Rock of Ages," "Fela!" and even a recent revival of "Hair" -- they all crank it to 11, at least by Broadway standards.
Second, America might be in the mood for a little less escapism (run along now, "Legally Blonde") and a little more social statement. After a year of protests in parks and a lack thus far of similar sentiments in new pop music, what if some biting social commentary showed up at, of all places, the thee-uh-tah?
"Biting" is too strong a word for "American Idiot," the Tony-nominated rock musical based on pop-punk trio Green Day's 2004 concept album, but its classic outsider-in-the-big-city narrative at least reflects some of the potent alienation and post-9/11 jitters of contemporary youth in the composite characters Jesus of Suburbia, Whatshername and St. Jimmy.