If you missed “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” you missed out on quite an experience. The show didn’t just blow your socks off, it screwed them hard and didn’t apologize for it.
Let me start off by saying the show was not perfect, but take a step back and ask yourself if our government is perfect. It’s not. That’s what this show was about; at least, the early stages of our government in its infantile stages.
It was the small things that made this show great, and don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of spectacular grand moments. It was moments that you might miss if you weren’t quite paying close enough attention – yeah, I’m talking to the people behind me on their phones.
It was body language, like feet twisting violently in despair as Anders Bright had his face melted off. It was Vincent Tatro skipping in like a morbid cupid as he flung arrows that struck his targets down with choler-istic fury. Or an Injun, as Andrew Jackson Sr. would put it.
The first “awws” mixed with laughter happened when Katy Albert handed Brandon Bailey – who was playing Jackson – a juice box. It was a moment of innocence and purity, until Jackson meets George Washington and says “please tell Martha to keep the bed warm for me while you’re out blowing guys,” followed by a manly high five. You could practically feel the uncomfortable-ness radiating from older members of the crowd, who remained “reserved” and unresponsive for some of the funniest scenes.
Students who attended – whether for soundings or not – ate every word that was said on stage and returned it ten-fold with laughter and enthusiasm. One such moment came when Eric Korzun and Dalton-Jesse Cummins began their routine during “Illness as Metaphor,” which provoked increased laughter when Korzun began a majestic interpretive dance. It would also make for a fine mating-dance.
Good luck with that one, Korzun.
After listening to the original cast recordings of each song from the show, I can honestly say Castleton students did it better. Suck it, original cast.
Particular moments that stood out were the singing talents of Bailey & Cummins during “Rockstar,” and Bailey again during “Public Life,” which specifically caused the most emotional response out of me. I almost cried, dude.
The ensemble nailed it in “I’m So That Guy,” and crushed the Choreography in “The Saddest Song.”
Katy Albert was the perfect fit for “Ten Little Indians,” and Alexa Fryover during “The Great Compromise,” blew the doors right off Casella as audiences followed the performance with an applause.
Speaking of applauses, 9-year-old Brendan Coop, who plays Jackson’s adoptive son Lyncoya, received three ovations opening night. That kid is going places.
Other notable performances came from Vincent Tatro, who portrayed Martin Van Buren, during his performance as the preternaturally obese senator from New York. Anders Bright also had some moments that sometimes went over the audience’s collective head, but his repeated line “I’m John Quincy Adams,” somehow worked for every situation and has now become an obstacle living regular life. It’s very tempting to answer every question with “I’m John Quincy Adams.”
It should be noted that a handful of actors were sick during opening night, as several actors became sick offstage during and after the show. This, while unknown to the audience, was to blame for a few minor mistakes, but nothing worth mentioning.
One critique that is viable for the whole show in general: As I went and saw the show almost every day, I noticed consistent audio problems. Mics peaked often, mics weren’t turned on on cue and sometimes performers just couldn’t be heard. While there was one night where some feedback occurred, this only happened once that I know of.
I wish I had more space to praise every individual who worked on or starred in the show, but alas, word count and attention span restrict this. For those who missed it and were looking for specific detailed accounts of each moment, you should’ve gone to see the show.
It was your loss. I loved it.