Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson

Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson

Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson
Book by Alex Timbers
Music and Lyrics by Michael Friedman
Directed by Adam Graham
Musical Direction by Brandon Fender
Starring Ross Neal, Anitra Pritchard and Jaqueline Torgas
By The Way Productions
Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, Green Venue

Think of a president who wasn’t very bright, despised Congress, ignored the Supreme Court, started a huge genocidal war, and was loved by the voters. No, no that one, the one I’ referring to had some juicy sex scandals working as well. Andrew Jackson (Neal) was the first real populist president; he drove off the Indians and handed out most of Georgia for free to settlers. He fought unauthorized battles in Florida and upset negotiation that were necessary to getting international recognition of the United States and his campaign strategy is reminiscent of the modern Tea Baggers: “We don’t need none of that uppity book learning.” U, S, and A were the only letters he needed and like Sid Vicious, he didn’t know what he wanted, but he knew how to get it. This chaotic yet exciting musical summarizes his career from birth in the rough and tumble Tennessee hills to his bigamous marriage to Rachel (Torgas) to his dissolution of the First National Bank. His legacy dragged on for almost a century; in the crash of ’04 the government had to ask the House of Morgan to bail it out. Thanks a bunch, Andy.

As history lessons goes, this one is more fun and less thoughtful than most, just like Jackson presidency. Neal is clean cut, good looking and charismatic, he wields his pistol and his cock with equal swagger. Torgas makes a perfect tragic heroine, we know she’s doomed from the beginning yet Jackson never lets her upstage him. Amazingly, he tries to run for president without letting her know, and more amazingly he nearly gets away with it. As we steamroll thought this noisy, violent show, songs like “Populism, Yeah! Yeah!” and “Rock Star” propel the characters and the story forward, and Anitra Pritchard appears in a wheel chair and pug sweatshirt to explain the complicated parts. Jackson may not have been a great president, but he makes for one hell of a musical villain.

This production is part of the 2014 Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. Information on tickets and show times may be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/

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