U.Va. Drama to Open 2015-2016 Season with Raucous Rock Musical BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON

Monday, September 21, 2015

UVA DRAMA TO OPEN 2015-2016 SEASON WITH
RAUCOUS ROCK MUSICAL BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON

America’s Seventh President Receives Full Rock Star Treatment In Outrageous And Satirical  Take On The Populist Rise And Violent Reign That Literally Changed America

Opening October 1 at Culbreth Theatre

 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – September 18, 2015 – The University of Virginia’s Department of Drama is kicking off its 2015-2016 season with a rocking look at a legendary American political figure as he has never been seen or heard before.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is a fast-moving, satirical musical that careens between fact and fiction to present America’s seventh President as history’s ultimate rock star. Powered by an infectious emo rock score delivered by a live on-stage band, the show takes audiences on a rock musical thrill ride that chronicles Old Hickory’s legendary life and times, from his humble beginnings to his time as ruthless military strategist, populist agitator, and Commander-in-Chief – all while unveiling the simultaneous allure and danger of American populism in a way that feels ripped from today’s political headlines.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, with a book by Alex Timbers and music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, will be directed by Department of Drama Lecturer David Dalton and presented at the Culbreth Theatre October 1-3 and October 7-10 at 8pm. It is recommended for mature audiences.

Tickets are $16.00 for adults, 14.00 for seniors, U.Va. faculty, staff and U.Va. Alumni Association members, and 10.00 for students. They are currently available online at www.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu, by calling 434-924-3376 or in-person from noon until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at the U.Va. Arts Box Office, located in the lobby of the Drama building.  Full-time U.Va. students may receive one free ticket if reserved at least 24 hours in advance of their desired show date. 

The show manages to make history contemporary, Dalton said, through its sharp writing, infectious score and its uniquely outsized title character. “Andrew Jackson was a controversially bad President who did a lot of things that influenced American politics today,” he said. “He founded the Democratic Party, and he essentially created the modern Presidential campaign. So we, in a sense, have him to thank for all of its contemporary iterations being played out by Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton, Jeb Bush and the rest!”

The writers, Dalton said, struck a delicate balance when it comes to telling the story. “Andrew Jackson expanded the country more so than any other President besides Thomas Jefferson with the Louisiana Purchase. But he did so in a horrible way. So I think the show is trying to not judge Jackson, but to project something that would be equivalent to the way a 19th Century audience would have viewed him – essentially by casting him as a rock star – someone who, to quote a line from the show, is “all sexy pants.’”

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is often hailed for its deft combining of historical situations with 21st Century realities.  “The show allows us to feel infected by the populist excitement that Andrew Jackson brought to politics, but in a way that is more contemporary. The emo music helps with that in that it is by its nature self-indulgent. It is about ‘my problems.’”

The show’s populism theme is something that will be instantly recognizable and relatable to modern audiences, in its subject matter and its comedy, Dalton said. “It is definitely a complicated show, but it is not presented in a complicated manner. It is very funny to watch, and yet it uses humor as a way to deal with issues that make us uncomfortable.  It is a show that allows you to feel all the frustrations at how populism can lead to a wave that can sweep someone into office but it cannot accomplish everything, so you start to get bogged down by the bureaucracy of government.”

Free parking for all U.Va. Drama performances is available at the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, conveniently located alongside the theaters.

 

Andrew Jackson (Zach Showalter) fights and rocks his way to the Presidency in U.Va. Department of Drama's production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.  Photo by Michael Bailey.