Monday, May 17, 2010

Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson

Photo: Joan Marcus

The explosive and funny rock musical Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson deconstructs the story of the seventh president of the United States and reveals the emotional and moral rot underneath. Michael Friedman's outstanding music and lyrics range from poignant ballads to kick-ass anthems, and he is pitch perfect at finding the right sound for every occasion. As Andrew Jackson, Benjamin Walker owns the stage, and the other performers are all excellent. The design elements (particularly the scenic design by Donyale Werle and the lighting by Justin Townsend) are amazing. However, the whole of Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson is somewhat less than the sum of its parts, mostly because director and book writer Alex Timbers, while extremely creative, sometimes seems more interested in clever theatrics and cheap (albeit funny!) jokes than in the painful history he is exploring. Nevertheless, Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson rocks.

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