Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
The mashical is "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" but the name you’re going to remember is Cameron Cobb. Cobb’s rock God, guy-linered surrealist portrayal of our 7th president is bold, electrifying and hands-down the best male performance seen on a Dallas stage this season.
Cobb’s star turn is not the only, but the best reason to get tickets to Theatre 3’s final production of it’s 50th season: the regional/Texas premiere of the 2010 Broadway show, "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson."
Theatre 3’s production also highlights the magician-like, keen direction of Bruce Coleman, who patches together the very loose fabric of this thin-as-a-veil property (more on that in a minute.) And if you follow Dallas theater, you know something special is happening when names such as Arianna Movassagh, Max Swarner and the ridiculously talented Wendy Welch line up for supporting parts.
"Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" not only steers widely from traditional theatre, it doesn’t even acknowledge that a road exists. I think the technical categorization of "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" as a musical is a giant stretch; it’s more a play with some music, therefore I propose a new categorization: mashical.
No one reading this can be more surprised at the above praise than this reviewer. A hit off-Broadway, "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" made its Broadway debut in October 2010 but closed a mere 10 weeks later. I happened to be in New York City during that brief window and caught the production. I detested it.
"Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" is really just a series of Saturday Night Live-style sketches loosely taped together by a sometimes funny, completely absurd political narrative of Andrew Jackson’s rise from a Tennessee backwoodsman, through his military victories against the English, Spaniards and Native American Indians, continuing with his bigamist marriage, his election to the Oval Office and the infamous "Trail of Tears."
There are also easily recognized reverse-echoes of both the 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns. If Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc had conceived this material back in the 1960s, you can imagine a Jacksonified- Yosemite Sam dropping an ACME anvil on a feathered dressed Wiley Coyote.
"Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" was conceived by Michael Friedman (music and lyrics) and Alex Timbers (book). Timbers received a well-deserved Tony nomination. The show also received a Best Design nomination but was otherwise snubbed that year.
The score includes a familiar nursery rhyme, an oft-reprised string of notes that sounds more like a drill team chant and only one real song that has any depth or resonance ("I’m Not That Guy" later reprised as "I’m So That Guy"). The rest is just annoying dribble that marks time until the play resumes.
Too small for even a mid-size Broadway theater (The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre- now housing the newly crowned Best Musical "Once"), "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" history-mashed architecture shines like a 19th century burnished belt buckle when steered with imagination and massaging in a smaller venue as Theatre 3 will be proving now through July 7.
"Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" runs through July 7 at Theatre Three, 2800 Routh Street, #168 in Dallas. For info or tickets visit http://www.theatre3dallas.com