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Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Center Stage Theater

Out of the Box Presents Rock Musical Based on American History


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

This excellent and abrasive new show has a lot of the same qualities as its subject, and none more so than Andrew Jackson’s audacity. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is fearless — unafraid in the face of challenges that would send lesser musicals running for cover. First, there’s the sheer strangeness of the material. The early 19th century was a long time ago, and, caught between the relative moral intelligibility of the Founding Fathers and the Civil War, the years that saw the advent of Jacksonian Democracy can seem bewildering in their unfamiliar ethical complexities. Second, there’s the challenge of combining post-punk song forms and music-video narrative grammar with the traditional structure of the Broadway musical. And finally, there’s the ultimate gamble of casting — whom can you find who will be able to do all this, and do it well?

Fortunately, Out of the Box Theatre Company has done it again, and, as with their 2012 production of Spring Awakening, they’ve scored another hit. This show may not spread the net quite as wide, but I’m guessing that it will earn more than its fair share of repeat attendees, which is the true measure of cult status. For starters, there’s Steven Stone, who does a terrific job in the lead. He sings with conviction, and he manages all the many fits, outbursts, and mood swings without losing focus. Stone gives a rock-solid core to a show that withstands the pressure even when it is at its most anarchic, which is at least 50 percent of the time. Other standouts include director Samantha Eve as the dark lady Rachel Jackson, Dillon Yuhasz, Marc Nicolas, Conner Lewis, and Skyler Jones. This list could go on, as the female ensemble and the onstage band were also sharp, but ultimately, the credit must go to Eve and Out of the Box for making another cutting-edge contribution to our theatrical scene.

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