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Posts tagged ‘Michael Friedman’

14
Oct

On the scene: Opening night of ‘Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson’

I was there when it played off Broadway, then attended the media day, and even was present at its first Broadway preview. So when I was invited to the opening night performance and party of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, despite my excitement, I worried people would start thinking I was a Jackson groupie. And maybe I am! Well, not exactly, but there’s no shame in supporting a show that’s this good or one you believe in. And I believe in Andrew Jackson.

I was the plus one of the very generous Sammy Davis, my friend and the mind behind the self-titled Sammy Davis Vintage, who is a vintage fashion expert and stylist. We arrived at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre early enough to soak up the opening-night flashbulbs and festivities occurring on the street. We first saw Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts walk the press line, followed by the very pregnant Katie Finneran, Eve Best, Keith Powell, and Andrew McCarthy. Bloody Bloody writer/director Alex Timbers and composer Michael Friedman also passed through photographers, looking ebullient for the debut of their creative baby. Getting swept up in all the famous faces and buzz, it was easy to lose track of time, and we realized we should go in and take our seats before we missed the curtain.

The excitement in the theater was palpable. I had already observed Donyale Werle and Justin Townsend’s enveloping set and lighting when I attended the first preview performance, but I swear the ornaments glowed brighter this night. The performance began 15 minutes late, but when it did, the audience gave the cast of Bloody Bloody a warm welcome. Title star Benjamin Walker riffed a little more than usual in his opening statements, warning the audience that their sustained applause was just delaying them all from the open bar at the after party. Read more »

9
Sep

‘Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson’ readies for Broadway

Indians and politicians invaded the Playwrights Horizons Theatre on Wednesday when the cast and creative team of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson met with the press to promote their upcoming September 20 Broadway bow. The cast came armed with a medley performance of two of the show’s numbers, and writer/director Alex Timbers offered a sneak peak of what will happen when Jackson takes the stage.

Video: The cast of Bloody Bloody Andre Jackson performs “Populism, Yea Yea” and “Rock Star”

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17
Apr

Review: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Being that I was an AP History student in high school, I’m embarrassed to say this: going into Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, I couldn’t remember a thing about this particular president. It’s a good thing there’s nothing like a loud rock musical to pound the facts into your head.
Chronicling the childhood and political rise of Andrew Jackson, our country’s seventh president (I learned this from the show!), this creation of Alex Timbers (book writer and director) and Michael Friedman (music and lyrics) is a random, wild-child piece of genius. Billed as an “emo rock musical,” Andrew Jackson strips the characters of any dense, political verbiage and colonial form. Instead, a rock star ensemble screams a hilarious rock score of the president that is both adored for being a “people’s president” and loathed for genocidal acts against the Native Americans.
Timbers, Friedman, and the rest of the creative team have dedicated themselves to the show’s “look,” and it’s that commitment that makes Andrew Jackson such a standout piece. Upon entering the theater, the audience’s experience begins. Scenic designer Donyale Werle and lighting designer Justin Townsend have strung distressed gold and red chandeliers on the ceiling, extending over the audience to the back row. Single-color decorative string lights pass over the chandeliers, and long neon bulbs (a la Kevin Adams’ designs for Spring Awakening and Passing Strange) hang on the sidelines. I felt as if I had walked into a grungy New York rock hall. The stage bears the same rock-grunge motifs, as well as wilderness clutter, to reflect Jackson’s Tennessee upbringing. There are so many details to look at on the stage that it’s frustrating to realize you can’t catch them all. Read more »