Monday, September 30, 2013

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

What?.... Another white leader from American history has been found to be imperfect? How could this be? We were taught to model our society on these great figures such as Andrew Jackson and our Founding Fathers....fighting for freedom, the pursuit of happiness, and so much more. You mean they actually made some horrible mistakes, were flawed, ego driven and at times downright savage?...... Perhaps if we'd all been taught this early on in history classes we may have a better understanding that no person, decision or political position is 100% right or wrong and at the very least usually never easy.

I caught this show in its second to last performance here in Las Vegas....just in time, and so glad I did! Whenever a production or piece of history from the past is "put out there" in a modern and easy to relate to format, it's in my opinion a theatrical and artistic victory! The last production I saw from this director, Troy Heard was a rockin' modern interpretation of Hamlet that achieved the same feat with fiction as BBAJ did with historical fact.

"Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is not just about Andrew Jackson, it uses him as a way to examine America and ourselves. We are trying to make theater that doesn't make a judgement for you. We make an argument and  people can make their own choices".....Alex Timbers, Co-Writer, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson as told to PBS

I'm Andrew F*#@# Jackson!....Cory Goble....(Photo BBAJ Las Vegas)

The Trail of Tears....(and no I'm not talking about the ones on Taylor Swift's guitar), but the one Andrew Jackson is probably most remembered for, the 90,000 or so Native American Tribal people removed from east of the Mississippi to the American West.  Although the Indians fought back (yes many could read and write and all did not live in teepees but actual houses mixed in with their former European neighbors)...when the state of Georgia sued them for the land, they actually won the ruling when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Cherokee Nation....but  Jackson ignored it and in doing so marked his place in history for the better or worse. The Cherokee Nation was ordered off the land...because, "you know it's probably our land anyway", (as cleverly referred to in the production)...

Sometimes I wonder as many have, how different our country and society would be if this had not happened and the Native American culture instead integrated with ours. Building a nation on combined cultures, (you never know it could have worked), instead of what really amounted to ethnic cleansing, not through only death, (although there was plenty of that), but through relocation and the quarantine that still exists today.
Jackson does get credit for founding the Democratic the way, the jack-ass (or donkey), was eventually used as a symbol of the party in a political cartoon for Harper's Weekly. It was and has never been officially adopted as the Democratic party's logo.

Like much of history and the men and women of, it would be hard to fill the seats of a theater for a story like this if it wasn't presented as a dark comedy and/or a musical......much too depressing! For the Las Vegas production it didn't hurt that the cast was talented, edgy, beautiful and a little dark...(but in a sexy way of course)! Loved how Cory as Andrew Jackson kept his microphone in a holster! I think this musical, if it hasn't already could start a post colonial retro fashion trend. The shadow of the Indian at the end didn't bother me either, it doesn't hurt to remind us of these forgotten people and how they became that way..

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is an EMO Rock Musical...(one of my fave styles)...originating in the 1980's and known for its melodic musicianship and confessional lyrics ....which basically means "emotional hard core" with  a punk rock edge!
Las Vegas playbill

Written by and music and lyrics by Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman, Theatrical Debut 2008, Broadway Debut 2010, VEGAS Debut 2013.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.....Onyx Theatre, Las Vegas, NV

Director, Troy Heard is an associate member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, a national theatrical labor union.

April Allain, Elizabeth...Michael Drake, Adams....Brenna Folger, Rachel.....Teresa Fullerton, The Storyteller, Cory Goble, Andrew Jackson, Will Hailey, Lyncoya....Ross Horvitz, Monroe...Garret Harbison, Calhoun, Memory McAllister, Interrogator.....Jon Rahi, Soldier, Brendan Shane, Male Soloist....Jake Taylor, Clay.....Nicole Unger, Female Soloist...Andy Vieluf, Van Buren.

The (Awesome) Band...(Thanks for the surprise at the end Jeremy!)
Sandy Stein, Bass.... Arles Estes, Guitar...... Jeremy Gill, Drums.....Terry Hopler, Keyboards

The Creative Team...(Haven't seen so much action in a small space since I fit 8 drunk friends in a Ford Escort!)
Troy Heard, Director.....Christian Escobar, Choregrapher....Sandy Stein, Music Direction...Kyle Boatwright, Choral Director....Erik Ball, Production Designer....Erik Ball & Kim Rahi, Set Design...Jake Kopenhaver, Lighting Design...Andi Salazar, Stage Manager....Erik Ball & Kim Rahi, Costume Design....Kim Rahi, Scenic Design....Sean Critchfield, General Badassery

Special Thanks
Production Assistance (Because no matter what the show must go on!)
Terrence Williams, Kat Winston, Emily Ball, Feral Tale Theatricals, Jennifer Young, Cockroach Theatre, Faith Lutheran Theatre Company

Indiegogo Donors...(Thank God for theatre patrons!)
Kit Kindred, Jonathan Tuala, Spencer Driscoll, Arles Estes Lee, Chuck and Ami Meyers, Jennifer Haley, Alex and Angela Stopa, Emily Harrison, The Horvitz Family, Betty Smith, Anonymous

(Comments above in italics are mine. AW)


90 Seconds of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson...Broadway 2011...YouTube

Interview with Alex Timbers...PBS

Sources: Wikipedia, BBAJ Las Vegas playbill and PBS.

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