The "People's President," Ol' Hickory himself, gets a rockin' tribute in the brazen musical satire "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson," now playing at Urbana's Station Theatre.
This high-voltage, unapologetic, multiple-award-winning masterpiece created by Michael Friedman and Alex Timbers employs the perfect form of expression: post punk emo/indie rock, which — much like Jackson himself — makes up the rules as it goes along with no holds barred, resulting in a wildly exhilarating 90-minute ride.
Directed with delightful irreverence by Mikel L. Matthews Jr., "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" features a strong, committed ensemble led by the charismatic Corbin Dixon in the title role and a superb live band led by guitarist and "bandleader" David Butler.
The book follows the highlights and arguable low lights of our nation's seventh president, the first "self-made" man to ascend to this country's highest office. He founded the Democratic party, yet he destroyed the National Bank. He led the adolescent military to victory over the British (the Battle of New Orleans), yet he uprooted and displaced nearly all of the Native American people. And the list goes on.
Despite its being set in the 19th century, this production is disturbingly topical and begs the question of political responsibility and what it means to be an American.
Dixon captures the inner turmoil created by Jackson's celebrity status, which is masterfully created (and supported) by an outstanding ensemble.
Other notable performances include Sidney Germaine as John Quincy Adams, James Haas as Martin Van Buren, Mark E. Fox as Henry Clay and Katarina Spungen as Rachel. Costume designer Thom Schnarre and choreographer Whitney Havice complete the production package with energetic movement and a bold, creative costume plot.
History still hasn't made up its mind on Jackson. Some feel he was one of our finest leaders. Others say he was an "American Hitler."
If Jackson were here, he'd most likely laugh at this and raise his middle finger — which reminds me: This production includes strong language and adult themes and may not be appropriate for younger or more sensitive audiences.
If you go
What: Celebration Company presents the musical "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson," with music and lyrics by Michael Friedman and book by Alex Timbers; directed by Mikel Matthews Jr.; music direction by David Barkley
When: 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday; Wednesday through Jan. 27; Jan. 30-Feb. 2
Where: Station Theatre, 223 Broadway Ave., U
Tickets: $10 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; $15 on Fridays and Saturdays
Information: http://www.stationtheatre.com ; 384-4000
Tricia Stiller serves as director for the McLean County Diversity Project's Theatre Program, the Miller Park Summer Theatre Program and the Penguin Project McLean County. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.