photo: Joan Marcus
With more than a little bad-ass nose-thumbing attitude, this show at The Public (seen here staged and costumed but billed as a "concert version") about Andrew Jackson pokes some snarky fun at rock musicals (the anachronisms of Spring Awakening, for instance) but beneath the snotty 'tude are some provocative ideas about Jackson's legacy. Was the fourth President a hero or an American Hitler? Was the populism he preached a recipe for pure democracy or for chaos? The show, which has an unpretentious rag-tag looseness, isn't out to make a definitive statement and it steadfastly refuses to get too serious until the very end, but that's part of its refreshing appeal. As staged by Alex Timbers, it's silly and smartypants at the same time. The show's conceit has Jackson in strutting rock god drag which not only amusingly illustrates his celebrity and resonance with the people but also allows Benjamin Walker to rock out old school in his thoroughly winning breakout performance.