Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
There could not possibly be a more relevant time for “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” — a relentlessly silly rock musical about the first unofficial Tea Party candidate in American political history — to premiere on Broadway.
In addition to providing festive irreverence and “emo” rock ballads, “Andrew Jackson” reflects upon the reckless anger and populist appeal that has overtaken the current election climate. In the opening number, the seventh president’s appeal is summed up with the catchy refrain “Populism Yea Yea.”
Following two successful off-Broadway runs, the Public Theater has taken a big risk in bringing “Andrew Jackson” to Broadway. The show — a chaotic combination of youthful exuberance, historical fact, populist ideology and gross humor — is likely to confuse and frustrate just as many theatergoers as it appeals to.
Alex Timbers’ Wild West-themed production is set in the 19th century, but uses colloquial language and maintains a modern sensibility mixing elements of “South Park” and “Spring Awakening.” The entire theater is covered with animal heads, chandeliers and red drapes.
As played by the charismatic and emotional Benjamin Walker, Jackson is portrayed as a temperamental and insecure adolescent. This is a president who wears tight jeans, whines about how his life sucks and offers to show female audience members his “stimulus package.”
Regardless of whether it’s a hit, “Andrew Jackson” is a unique triumph in terms of both political and musical theater. It arrives on Broadway with extra polish and a few more visual gags, including an upside-down horse that hangs above the audience’s heads.
If you go: “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” plays an open run at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. 242 W. 45th St., 212-239-6200