Saturday, June 21, 2014
By The Way Productions presented Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at the Orlando Fringe Festival. Based on a book by Alex Timbers and with music and Lyrics by Michael Friedman the show was a pop rock musical that showed the bloody history often overlooked by whitewashed history book in high school. The show was produced by Ashley Willsey and directed by Adam Graham. I went to the show because I bumped into Christie Miga on the lawn of fabulousness and discovered that she created the large flag that hangs on the set. This show got an award for the most aggressive and visual marketing campaign which was designed by Ashley. Live music was provided by Hey Angeline.
This was a huge show staged in the tiny Rep black box theater. I sat in the front row and several times had to pull back my crossed legged drawing stance to keep from tripping dancers. This was an edgy high energy production that portrayed Jackson (Ross Neil) as a rock star hungry for the adoration of the American public. The female cast worshiped Jackson's populism like crazed Beatles fans. In contrast, the narrator was a nerdy woman in a wheelchair (Anitra Pritchard) with cat eyed glasses and a stuffed pug in her lap. She reminded me of the Dr. Scott from Rocky Horror Picture Show.
While Jackson ordered the slaughter of the Indians, his popularity grew. It is possible that this Indian purge resulted in more deaths than the Nazi concentration camps. Jackson's wife (Jacqueline Torgas) didn't want him to go into politics and yet he couldn't resist the adoration of the American public. The campaign ripped his wife's reputation to shreds and she died of a heart attack before he took office. She was married to another man when she met Jackson and that fact was used by his opponents in the presidential campaign. Ambition left him loveless yet popular. Two thumbs up for such an ambitious Fringe production.