‘Entertaining and perceptive political thriller’ comes to Trustus Main Stage
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Trustus Theatre continues their 35th Anniversary Season and their ‘In the Round’ series with the production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. This rock musical follows America’s seventh president, Andrew Jackson, from his early childhood days through to his time in the White House, and brings a satirical, hilarious take on history to the stage. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson will open up on Trustus Theatre’s Main Stage on Friday, March 13, and will run through Saturday, April 4, 2020. Tickets may be purchased at www.trustus.org, or by calling the Trustus Theatre Box Office at 803-254-9732.
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is an unexpected rock musical that follows America’s seventh president from his early days as a child on the wild frontier of the Waxhaws to his controversial reign in the White House. With the country divided into rich and poor (and with continued displacement of Native Americans upsetting pieces of the new world), Jackson begins his steady climb from military strategist to populist rabble-rouser to President of the United States. Along the way, he meets his wife, Rachel, takes on the Founding Fathers—and rocks like no political figure has ever rocked before, with the help of a killer band and an entourage of singing, joking cohorts. Jackson was the original swamp-drainer, the first cabinet-cleaner, the guy who put his family and friends into positions of power after he cleaned those cabinets—and, he was the first president that was going to “Make America Great Again” since the Revolution. All of the ups and downs of Populism are on display in this immersive musical experience in the round.
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, 2010 Drama Desk Award Winner and 2020 Outer Critics Circle Award Winner, was written by Alex Timbers with music and lyrics by Michael Friendman. It will be directed by Producing Artistic Director Chad Henderson. Musical direction will be provided by Chris Cockrell with choreography by Grayson Anthony.
“Andrew Jackson portrayed as a rock star? Though he’s a president with a history that’s storied in contradictions, he certainly got away with many things that presidents before him could not,” said Henderson. “After all, Jackson’s inaugural reception at the White House was basically a raging kegger, so the rock star metaphor works all too well. One shouldn’t expect a history lesson with Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Instead, they should expect to watch the story of a man who came from nothing and became a powerful leader. There will be plenty of laughter along the way, which may surprise some folks. In the end, we get to examine the country in the early 1800s and compare it to contemporary America. We may be surprised by what has changed, and what has not.”
The musical features Trustus Company Members Katie Leitner, Josh Kern, Michael Hazin, Kayla Machado, Jonathan Monk, and Abigail McNeely, and guest actors Rachael Mitchum, Beck Chandler, Gaby Walker, Daniel Machado, Mark Ziegler, Jon Whit McClinton, Abigail Smith, David-Neil Edwards, and Ayden Cobb.
Michael Hazin will be bringing the main character, Andrew Jackson, to life Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
“This is the first time that I’ve ever had to play a real person, regardless of what a heightened version we are portraying of him in this production,” said Hazin. “It’s very interesting to try and capture something about Andrew Jackson that represents him in a way that’s true of his thoughts and beliefs without having to present a completely true to life impersonation of him, and I think we accomplish that. He was said to be a man who would get so angry that he would choke on his own rage. So, we have tried to tap into that rage and I especially enjoy the different levels and colors of anger that we get to play with in this production. This show came out ten years ago, and it’s honestly more relevant now than it was when it premiered. No matter what particular political side one may fall on, the show really takes to task how crazy and ugly a political system can be, and what that does to the people that live within the system. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson does it a very funny and very biting way.”
Playing the part of Martin Van Buren will be Jonathon Monk.
“This cast is hilarious, hardworking, talented, and supportive,” said Monk, who will be playing the character of Martin Van Buren. “Rehearsals with Chad and this group give me a feeling like we are showing up to a playground, getting in the sandbox together, and having grand adventures. I love that Martin Van Buren is this larger than life comedic character, and I enjoy the challenge of making that relatable to an audience. The show has some silly moments as well as dark moments, it has relatable characters in extraordinary circumstances, and it has some truly unexpected moments. It reflects the best and the worst aspects of America’s history—the promise of hope America offers and the ways in which that offer can be twisted into something ugly. No matter where you stand politically, this show asks great questions and lets the audience weigh their own opinions against the choices of the characters. I hope the audience enjoys the way the story unfolds and the fantastic rock score.”
Kayla Machado will portray Rachel Jackson, Andrew Jackson’s wife, in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
“Oh man, playing Rachel is so fun,” said Kayla Machado. “Playing with the silliness of the dialogue with Michael while also getting to bring grounding and emotion to a character who also deserves to have her story told is so satisfying. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is one of those shows that can serve as a nice break from reality while also resonating with today’s current political landscape. Is it a fun, boisterous, irreverent punk rock romp that will make you laugh and potentially head bang? Yes. Does it take a multifaceted look at a controversial president responsible for both the establishment of the Democratic Party and the Trail of Tears who’s been equally admired and reviled throughout history? Also, yes.”
Trustus Theatre has brought a new look to the first three plays of 2020 and they have converted the Thigpen Main Stage into a round orientation. A Streetcar Named Desire was the first one to be presented in this arena-style staging, which allows for audiences to converge on the play from all sides. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson will be presented in the same ‘in the round’ format. Audiences will be immersed in these stories and will be able to more deeply connect with the performers with this new level of intimacy for the Main Stage.
“As an actor, I love the freedom of being ‘in the round,’” said Kayla Machado. “You know your back is always going to be to someone, so the concept of cheating goes out the window. You keep in mind that you want to give every side of the audience equal love, and a lot of that is figured out in the blocking. Audiences needn’t worry: there’s no ‘bad side’ to sit on, but I love the idea that people may choose to come see the show a second time purely to experience it from a whole new vantage point.”
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson will run from Friday, March 13 through Saturday, April 4, 2020, and tickets are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Trustus Theatre Box Office at 803-254-9732 or online at trustus.org. Opening night is Friday, March 13, at 8pm. The performances following are on Saturday, March 14, at 8pm; Thursday, March 19, at 8pm; Friday, March 20, at 8pm; Saturday, March 21, at 8pm; Sunday, March 22, at 3pm; Thursday, March 26, at 8pm; Friday, March 27, at 8pm; Saturday, March 28, at 8pm; Sunday, March 29, at 3pm; Thursday, April 2, at 8pm; Friday, April 3, at 8pm; and Saturday, April 4, at 8pm.