Theater Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson: Remember That Title
posted by February 21 at 12:05 PMon
This show—which I saw in LA last week before its final tweaks and big unveiling in NYC—is going to be huge:
Sadly, the youtube clips are sub-par and make the musical (by Alex Timbers, of NYC’s Les Freres Corbusier) seem amateurish. Yes, it’s an emo-rock/sketch-comedy musical about Andrew Jackson, but Bloody Bloody both deploys and mocks the emo-rock/sketch-comedy aesthetic. Like if Jon Stewart and Green Day got together to write a show—it rocks and it winks at the same time.
It’s all about populism, you see. You can hear the show’s flagship number, “Populism Yea Yea!” (which, on the recording, also sounds more bloodless and amateurish than it was live) here.
The show posits Jackson as a sexy, petulant, rock-star president. The conceit fits—Jackson was the drunkest, fightingest president we’ve ever had, and a contradictory, emotional basket case: He married his wife while she was married to another guy, fought 13 duels (mostly over her honor), and waged brutal Indian Wars while his adopted Creek son was running around the White House.
And Bloody Bloody creates its own universe of rock-star sexiness eerily well. During one of Jackson’s rallies, actresses playing teenage girls squealed “We want to fuck you, Andrew Jackson!” and held placards reading “emocracy now!” Then actual teenage girls, in the the actual audience, started squealing about wanting to fuck the actor playing Jackson.
That actor, Benjamin Walker, is a dynamo and the set is fantastic—it begins as a saloon-bordello (piano, chandelier, taxidermied deer, squirrels, and alligator) and turns into this:
Imagine that, but blindingly bright, the music roaring, the teenage girls onstage and offstage screaming, Jackson wailing “life sucks, and my life sucks in particular” while the ensemble sings behind him:
Sometimes you have to take the initiative.
Sometimes your whole family dies of cholera.
Sometimes you have to make your own story.
Sometimes you have to shoot the storyteller in the neck.
Sometimes you have to take back the country.
Sometimes you have to kill everyone, everyone.
Populism, yeah yeah!
Until the interweb deigns to give us more and better clips of the show, you’ll have to take my word for it—start asking your favorite theater to bring Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson to Seattle now. You will love it, they will make piles of cash, and the world will be a better place.