Off-Broadway At The Beck: Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson
Our 7th president Andrew Jackson’s legacy is the contradiction of the century, from the reinvention of modern Democracy right down to the Trail of Tears, relocating thousands of Native Americans into reservations in the West, against their will. Creative team Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman saw this bundle of paradox as fruitful content for a rock musical, warping Jackson into a modern rock star, the people’s choice of the American presidency, followed by all of his groupies praising populism. In this presidential election year, The Beck Center has boldly put Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson in their season, rocking the studio theater.
The show is uproarious and clever… and probably not for everyone. This isn’t just because of the trifecta of off-color-jokes- prejudice, bodily fluids and sex. In fact, there’s plenty of humor ranging from low to high and everywhere in between! But some people like their parodies served with a side of history- with a sense of what is creative license and what’s fact. (There isn’t much supplemental dramaturgical info to guide us through this dense, albeit sometimes light, show.) Especially in an election year, this show has the opportunity to make us look at ourselves and laugh and think about how much has or hasn’t changed.
This said, director, Scott Spence takes this political satire and runs with it, for a night of total hilarity. A perfect picture of political back doors is painted with lots of fun staging choices. The cohesive ensemble is raunchy, ignorant and slimy… everything you’d want from a caricature of our country’s people. There is total commitment on the part of this ensemble, bringing tons of life to the stage.
Beck Center favorite, Dan Folino is unsurprisingly charismatic and effortless in the title role of Andrew Jackson. With ease and finesse, he makes his way through all of the stages and phases from a child playing with a cowboy doll (briefly) to young rebel to a president in over his head.
All of the production elements shine (aside from some opening night sound glitches that will get worked out through the run of the show). The clever costumes mix graphic tees, with knickers and leggings with corsets. The set is a perfect combination of 19th century saloon meets Vegas. Dressing it up is an impressive live rock band who takes part in some fun interactive elements.
So If you like some good, irreverent fun and rock music, check it out!
Tickets are $28 for adults, $25 for seniors (65 and older), and $17 for students with valid ID. An additional $3 service fee per ticket is applied at the time of purchase. Group discounts are available for parties of 13 or more. Purchase tickets online at beckcenter.org or call Customer Services at 216.521.2540, ext. 10. Beck Center is located at 17801 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. Free onsite parking is available.
Beck Center’s production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) and is sponsored by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and the Ohio Arts Council.
Lauren Joy Fraley is a recent graduate of Bowling Green State University where she studied Theatre and Arts Management. After working for the Children's Theatre of Charlotte, NC and touring with CLIMB Theatre based out of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, she is now working in the Community Engagement and Education Department at PlayhouseSquare and has returned to living in Lakewood where she grew up.