There will be blood (and bravado)
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
It was hard times for America’s seventh president growing up. And once grown, but still acting like a petulant adolescent, he had to fight off—well, mainly kill off—the British and Spanish who were trying to claim his country. And then there were all those Indians. They thought America was theirs, but he showed them.
Raw and raucous, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is the latest musical from the überhip, young Green Valley Theatre Company. In it, Old Hickory (as performed by Jacob Montoya, all tight pants, eyeliner and microphone in hand) is one hard piece of wood. He’s a sexy rock-star president—the first. Alex Timbers wrote the book, and Michael Friedman provided the music and lyrics for this daft tale that mixes history and histrionics into a satire of American politics that may have been right for its time but seems so wrong now. Jackson embodies that sense of entitlement that led a bunch of immigrant invaders to the New World to claim it, tame it and, ultimately, maim it. And be proud of it!
Spunky and subversive at its best, Bloody Bloody can be downright juvenile and offensive at its worst. What to make of that tea-bag offer? But director Christopher Cook’s game cast, including the hilariously over-the-top Elio Gutierrez as a fey Martin Van Buren, Eddie Voyce as John Quincy Adams, Brent Randolph as John C. Calhoun, Michael Haleva as James Monroe and Nick Thompson as Henry Clay, is quite good. Women seem to have lesser roles (ain’t that just like politics?), but Mariana Seda as Rachel Jackson and Jennifer Morrison as the female soloist—whose “Ten Little Indians” is a haunting highlight of the show—stand out.