Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

‘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, 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 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.


Trustus Theatre Announces Producing Artistic Director

Trustus Theatre Board of Directors names Chad Henderson Producing Artistic Director

COLUMBIA, S.C. – On Monday, February 17, 2020, the Trustus Theatre Board of Directors voted to end the organization’s search for a Managing Director that began in September 2019, and named current Artistic Director Chad Henderson as the Producing Artistic Director. Henderson will now serve the organization in an Executive capacity to lead artists, staff, board and the community in realizing Trustus Theatre’s mission.

Chad Henderson is a native of Spartanburg, SC, and began working at Trustus Theatre in 2007 as the Marketing Director after graduating from the University of South Carolina. After an eight-year career as a professional director, he became Trustus Theatre’s third Artistic Director at the start of the theatre’s 31st Season in 2015. This is Henderson’s fifth season as the Artistic leader of the organization, and the SC Theatre Association recognized him with the 2019 Founders Award last season in recognition for his contributions to SC theatre the previous year.

Sumner Bender, President of Trustus Theatre’s Board of Directors, is confident in the board’s decision to make Henderson the Producing Artistic Director. “Over the past several years, Trustus Theatre has been in a structural transition,” said Bender. “One of the only constants during that change has been Chad Henderson. The Board of Directors worked diligently over the past year to assess and evaluate the responsibilities and duties for an organizational leader. Many of those duties were already being performed by Mr. Henderson. A theatre organization is mutable, just like many smaller arts organizations, and it must be able to recognize when that change is needed. Therefore, when hiring an organizational leader, you can only hope for one that understands the mission, is a champion for the vision, and willing to work hard to maintain that integrity. We’re lucky that Mr. Henderson possesses all of those qualities and will continue to serve as a leader for Trustus Theatre.”

Henderson is honored by the opportunity to serve Trustus in this new capacity. “Trustus has been my artistic home for over fifteen years,” said Henderson. “Being given the chance to lead the organization in this capacity is humbling, and it is also energizing. I can’t quantify what this theatre has given me since its Co-Founders Jim and Kay Thigpen hired me right out of college, but I constantly endeavor to give back in whatever way I can. While our strategies may transform on occasion, the organization continues to be a vital cultural institution in South Carolina. My hope is that my service to the organization can position it for continued success in the next 35 years by celebrating artistry, community, and the power of storytelling.”

The theatre intends to hire an Administrative Assistant of Production in the coming months to assist in the management of productions, contribution programs, and communications.

Trustus Theatre is currently in its 35th Season as the Midlands’s contemporary professional theatre. Founded in 1985 by Kay and Jim Thigpen, Trustus Theatre boasts two performing venues with the Thigpen Main Stage seating 132 and the Trustus Side Door Theatre seating 50. The theatre and the Trustus Company endeavor to enrich the lives and deepen the experiences of their artists and patrons by producing works that examine humanity in the 21st Century. The theatre’s goal is to select challenging scripts that will start and nurture dialogues that promote discussion within the community with productions that are brought to life through dynamic storytelling and inventive designs.