Rock the Vote: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson Opens on Broadway Oct. 13

By Adam Hetrick
13 Oct 2010

Benjamin Walker
Benjamin Walker
Photo by Joan Marcus

In 1829 he was elected the seventh President of the United States. In 2010 he's a rebellious rock star leading a nation through its troubled teens in the new musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which opens Oct. 13 at Broadway's Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

The 90-minute musical, equal parts sketch comedy, underground rock concert and a revisionist history lesson, has book and direction by Alex Timbers of Les Freres Corbusier and music and lyrics by The Civilians' Michael Friedman. Performances began Sept. 20.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson arrives on Broadway after a 2008 world premiere at the Center Theatre Group and a run at the Public Theater last spring, where it was extended three times. It earned a place as the second highest-grossing production in Public Theater history. The record holder is the Tony Award-nominated musical Caroline, or Change.

Timbers told Playbill, "One of the things I think is pretty exciting about this show is, for me, a lot of the comedy in theatre doesn't dialogue with the comedy that's happening in popular culture, and I feel like this has more of a relationship to the kind of stuff that's happening at Upright Citizens Brigade or in a Will Ferrell movie."



The writers also play fast and loose with history as they track Jackson's journey from Tennessee hellion to the Commander in Chief. "The meta-narrative is how Andrew Jackson rewrote the history of America as he was going," Friedman added. "That's one of the weird things about taking control of a country; you get to rewrite narrative entirely." 

Benjamin Walker, who originated the role of "Old Hickory" at the Center Theatre Group and subsequently Off-Broadway at the Public, repeats his work for the Broadway run as the skinny-jean-clad President. Walker has also appeared on Broadway in Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Inherit the Wind, as well as the films "Kinsey" and "Flags of Our Fathers."

The cast also features Maria Elena Ramirez as Rachel, Jeff Hiller as John Adams, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe as Van Buren, Ben Steinfeld as Monroe, Greg Hildreth as Red Eagle, Darren Goldstein as Calhoun, Bryce Pinkham as Clay, Kate Cullen Roberts as Elizabeth, Kristine Nielson as the Storyteller, Cameron Ocasio as Lyncoya, Nadia Quinn, Emily Young as the Female Soloist and James Barry as the Male Soloist. Much of the Broadway cast originated their roles Off-Broadway and in the Center Theatre Group production.

The production has scenic design by Donyale Werle, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Justin Townsend and sound design by Bart Fasbender. Choreography is by Danny Mefford.

The Public Theater has teamed with Hair producers Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel, alongside producers Norton Herrick & Herrick Entertainment, Stewart F. Lane & Bonnie Comley, Susan Gallin/Mary Lu Roffe/Jennifer Manocherian, Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Nancy C. Paduano/Harold Thau and Toula C. Phillips for the Broadway run.

Following a sold-out run at Public LAB in 2009, Bloody Bloody returned to The Public for a full main stage production and opened to acclaimed reviews on April 6. It received an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Best Book of a Musical.

Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records recorded the cast album of the musical, which can be ordered here.

Producers are offering a daily $20 ticket lottery for 20 seats within the first two rows at the Jacobs Theatre. Entries will be accepted 30 minutes prior to each performance.

Tickets range $51.50-$131.50. The performance schedule is as follows: Monday-Thursday at 7 PM; Fridays at 8 PM; Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM; and Sundays at 2 PM and 7 PM.

For tickets, currently on sale through Jan. 9, 2011, visit Telecharge.com or phone (212) 239-6200. The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre is located at 242 West 45th Street.