|Members of the cast include (from left): Becca Sears, Jeremy Fox, Andrew Stalder, Jordan Rembold (as Andrew Jackson), Casey Martz, Hayley Bowders and Caitlin Webster.|
Take the biography of the country’s seventh president, add a dash of teen angst, mix in some political commentary and a punk-rock soundtrack and what do you get? The Clarion University Theatre Department’s next musical, of course.
“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” a show just recently on Broadway, is coming to Clarion. Written by Alex Timbers with music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, “Bloody Bloody” is a “wild kaleidoscopic ride through history,” according to Clarion University theatre professor Dr. Robert Levy.
Chronicling the life and presidency of Andrew Jackson, “Bloody Bloody” examines both early and modern American politics through one of America’s most controversial presidents.
“Through history, Jackson is lionized and demonized simultaneously,” said Levy, who also serves as the show’s director. “Is the president remembered for doubling the size of the country, or for the ‘Trail of Tears?’ The play lets the audience decide.”
This high-energy, 90-minute musical is not recommended for children. “It’s as sensitive politically as ‘South Park,’” Levy said. The show does not shy away from four-letter words, violence or the racist views held during the era in question.
Levy characterized the upcoming show as “a play for people who don’t normally go to plays.”
“It’s a very different theatrical experience. There is a different style of acting required and, as a teaching theatre, that serves our students well,” Levy said.
Set on a stage reminiscent of a rock concert with various historical artifacts integrated, “Bloody Bloody” employs the talents of 16 student actors and a five-student creative team. The show combines both modern and period scenery, props, music and fashion. “It looks at contemporary topics through very odd lenses,” Levy said.
“I’m really excited about the play because it’s relatively new. The electricity being generated by the cast and creative team — it has everyone thinking ‘gung-ho, let’s jump in,” Levy said.
“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” premiers at 8 p.m. March 6 in Marwick-Boyd Little Theatre. Evening performances continue until March 9, with a 2 p.m. March 10 matinee concluding the show’s run. Tickets, $12 for adults, $9 for children and free for Clarion University students with ID, are available by calling 814-393-ARTS or by clicking here. Due to adult content, parents are strongly cautioned.
The “Bloody Bloody” cast includes: Jordan Rembold, Franklin, as Andrew Jackson; Katie Forsgren, Erie, as the storyteller; Robert Milanich*, Rockville, Md., as John Quincy Adams in fulfillment of his BFA in acting; Brittany Tague*, Monroeville, as Rachel in fulfillment of her BFA in acting; Hayley Bowders*, Waynesboro, as Elizabeth; Leon Avery III*, Farrell, as James Monroe; Nic Barilar*, Rossiter, as Black Fox and Henry Clay; Jeremy Fox*, Tarentum, as the Rock Star Soloist; Andrew Stalder*, Warren, as John Calhoun; Jonathan White*, Morrisdale, as Keokuk; Joseph Bazzone*, North Versailles, as Martin Van Buren; Becca Sears*, Damascus, Md., as a soloist; Casey Martz*, Clarington, as Red Eagle; Christian Ryan*, Lansdale, as Lyncoya; Caitlin Webster*, Plum, as Erica; Samantha Moon*, Kennett Square, as Naomi. All of the cast members also double in other roles. (*Denotes inclusion in the show’s ensemble.)
Understudies include: Fox, Sears and Melissa Franklin, Pittsburgh.
Design and creative personnel consist of: Ed Powers, theatre professor, set design; Danielle Watt (‘12), vocal director; Hank Bullington, Clarion, costume design; Megan Bodish, Fombell, lighting design; Elliot Sussman, Livingston, N.J., sound design; Paige Crock, Lake City, properties design; Dan Schreiber, Greensburg, stage manager.
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