Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

photo: Joan Marcus

A smart bad-ass show that illustrates the 7th U.S. President's celebrity and maverick status by anachronistically depicting him as an Emo rock god, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson pokes snarky fun at rock musicals (Spring Awakening, especially) while putting over some provocative ideas about Andrew Jackson’s legacy. Was he a hero or an American Hitler? Was the populism he preached a recipe for pure democracy or for chaos? The often snarky pop musical (songs by Michael Friedman) 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 infectious appeal. As written and staged by Alex Timbers, it’s silly and smartypants at the same time. (Has any other show, ever, made jokes about both Cher and Susan Sontag?) Benjamin Walker is right on target as Jackson, simultaneously no-nonsense and whiny adolescent, heading a cast that is well-attuned to the jokey spirit that guides most of the material.

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