Trending
MOST READ
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best River Walk Restaurant

Best River Walk Restaurant

Best of SA 2012: 4/25/2012
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Arts & Culture: In one of the final chapters of his book To Selena, With Love (out March 6), Selena's widower Chris Perez mentions that Abraham Quintanilla, his former father-in-law, once... By Enrique Lopetegui 3/7/2012
Veg Out with Earth Burger

Veg Out with Earth Burger

Food & Drink: “Do you want cheese on that?” “Yeah, sure.” “Vegan or organic?” “Um, what? Where am I?” By Jessica Elizarraras 7/23/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Arts & Culture

Emo-historical Musical 'Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson' is Worn, but Not Tired

Photo: Photos by Andrea M. Medina, License: N/A

Photos by Andrea M. Medina

Photo: , License: N/A


In a winter musical season that’s heavy on family-friendly warhorses—White Christmas and Guys and Dolls, comin’ up!—it’s refreshing to see the Woodlawn take a chance on Michael Friedman and Alex Timbers’ anarchic romp through American history in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. The show couldn’t be more different than, say, A Christmas Story: BBAJ is part Saturday Night Live, part emo-rock fantasia, with a sensibility that swings (sometimes dramatically) between the sophomoric and the sophisticated. The musical premiered in 2009 at New York’s Public Theatre before moving uptown to Broadway; but even in the span of just a few years, it’s hard to escape the impression that the musical is not aging well. The original production, fresh on the heels of Bush’s second term, clearly reflected the trauma of that particular presidency; indeed, the character of Andrew Jackson, with his swagger, anti-intellectualism and overpowering sense of state pride, seemed a dead ringer for Texas’ own populist nightmare, W. While aspects of the musical still work—the Tea Party now seems an heir apparent to Jackson’s confused vision of America’s destiny—the show has lost a bit of its urgency, if not exactly its mojo. Bloody Bloody is bloody fun, but not, I think, a timeless disquisition on American social and foreign policy: it makes for a better diversion than dissertation.

The Woodlawn’s rockin’ production—which kicks off with the delightfully self-reflexive “Populism Yea Yea!”—is loud, brash and energetic, but hobbled by its technical aspects; on opening night, an inadequate sound design greatly favored the raucous three-piece band over the chorus, a decision that occasionally proved challenging in the larger ensemble numbers. (Individual performers usually won the battle with the band, but for the un-miked chorus, it was an uphill battle.) Benjamin Grabill’s simple set—with a painted American flag for a backdrop—transforms the Woodlawn’s Black Box into alternative nightclub, while Matt Smith’s lighting design too often leaves its actors literally in the dark, particularly on the sides of the stage. (In general, the lighting design could have been a bit more in the vein of a true rock concert; the playbill even has a parody of Bruce Springsteen’s buns on its cover.)

The ripped and scrappy postmodern costumes—by Greg Hinojosa and Rachel Danae De Vos—certainly put the goth in Southern Gothic: it’s Antebellum Tennessee as filtered through contemporary Portland. In general, however, the Woodlawn has nailed the vibe of a (musical) rebel yell.

Recently in Arts & Culture
  • 7 Public Art Projects Worth Searching For You’re likely familiar with the high-profile works of public art on view around downtown San Antonio: the gigantic, red swoop of... | 7/23/2014
  • ‘The Other Side’ Tackles the Impossible: Writing about trauma I didn’t take any notes while reading The Other Side because by the time I paused to pick up a pencil, I was already three-quarters of the way through. And for... | 7/23/2014
  • Free Will Astrology ARIES (March 21-April 19): A report in the prestigious British medical journal BMJ says that almost one percent of young pregnant women in the U.S. claim to be... | 7/23/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus