Was Andrew Jackson one of the greatest presidents in American history because he nearly doubled the size of our nation, paid off the entire national debt and created what is now known as the Democratic Party? Or was he a ruthless leader responsible for the Indian Removal, which consisted of ethnic cleansing and the relocation of more than 45,000 American Indians?
In Salt Lake Acting Company’s Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson these questions come screaming to the forefront in none other that an emo style, irreverent, sexy rock rock and roll musical. This show is laden with everything one would expect at a wild-west rock concert; cowboys, prostitutes, sex, language, guns, booze and a good old-fashioned fistfight or two.
While not wholly historically accurate, the portrayal of a young Andrew Jackson being left an orphan at the tragic age of 14 sets the stage for the angst ridden, angry at the world teenager to “pick up his rifle and make a stand” raging war on the Indians, British, Spanish and American Government.
After battling his way into the White House as “the people’s president” he vows to leave the decisions to the American People, always asking what they would like him to do. However, he realizes that it’s not as easy as he thought it would be.
“When it stops being fun, and your patience is done,
And you see being President’s hard.
With this country before you that cannot be governed,
You find yourself powerless, bloody and scarred.”
Director Keven Myhre commanded the stage. The production was tight, choreographed (Cynthia Fleming) brilliantly and stood strong. In a show as loud and as chaotic as this was, it would have been easy to lose the actors behind the sound (Josh Martin) but the entire cast was present, engaged and radiated hard energy.
In the early scenes, I didn’t connect or care much for Andrew Jackson (J.C. Ernst). However, as the show progressed I found myself empathic for his plight. I accredit Ernst for this brilliant arc. He was a standoffish, hard to like pompous kid who hated the world which made his transition into a husband and man who wanted to do what he thought was right all that much more powerful. A truly standout performance!!!
Aaron Ross, Patrick W. Kintz and Austin Archer were amazing tea drinkers, playing the wonderfully funny roles of other well-to-do members of the American government. Jessica Kennedy (Rachel Jackson), Connor Norton and Jeffrey Black were also very strong and commanded attention in this loud and rough environment.
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is an uproariously good time full of politically incorrect, offensive and sinful music! The most fun you will ever have learning about American history!
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is running at Salt Lake Acting Company in Salt Lake through November 4th. It’s likely that tickets might already be sold out so if you’re interested in going you better move on it now. Tickets can be purchased on their website saltlakeactingcompany.org or by calling 801-363-7522.
Photo Credits: David Daniels, Dav.D Photography