'Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson': Satirical musical bio looks at state's pivotal figure (June 14-July 13)

'Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson': Satirical musical bio looks at state's pivotal figure (June 14-July 13)

June 13th, 2013 by Clint Cooper in Chattnow Art

Scott Shaw portrays Andrew Jackson in the satire "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson."

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

What: "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson"

When: 8 p.m. June 14-15, June 21-22, June 28-29, July 5-6 and July 12-13

Where: Mildred M. Montague Circle Stage, Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St.

Admission: $18

Phone: 423-267-8534

Website: www.TheatreCentre.com

'BLOODY' CLOSE

Chattanooga Theatre Centre will give audience members an up-close view of its Circle Stage show, "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson," and of the Riverbend fireworks finale during the run of the show, which opens tonight. For each show, three tables (six chairs) will be available onstage. A price has yet to be set for these premium seats, but it will include beer. On Saturday, June 15, audience members can stay after the play and watch the fireworks from the CTC patio at no extra charge.

Don't expect a historical biography. Don't expect a typical musical comedy.

Yet, "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson," which opens tonight, June 13, on the Mildred M. Montague Circle Stage at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, is a little bit of both, turned on their heads, according to director Scott Dunlap.

"It's very much a comedy and a biography written for today," he says. "It's 'Saturday Night Live' meets 'Schoolhouse Rock.' It's its own story. It's a very well-written and structured play."

The subject is Tennessee's own Andrew Jackson, he of the frontier childhood, of duelist renown, of presidential fame, of the sad saga of the Trail of Tears.

"It treats him as if he were a figure now," says Dunlap. "It's a lot of laughs -- just fun," Dunlap says. "But there are parts that are quite serious."

And while the satire tells his story, complete with dates but without period clothing, it makes modern political references.

"It was not made to be historically accurate," Dunlap says.

It's as if a 2013 student were creating a report for school on Jackson, he says, and made him "a hip and cool emo rocker."

Dunlap says the songs "are quite catchy," but do not serve to further the action as in a typical Broadway musical.

They comment on the characters instead of allowing the audience to find out emotionally about the characters, he says.

Such a "warts and all" telling "makes you wonder why anyone would want to be president," Dunlap says.

A recent rehearsal by the 14-member cast, though filled with laughter, still "made me think about our politics, what we ask of the president, what power the president has, about the invasion of privacy on the president and that absolute power corrupts absolutely," Dunlap says.

So few theatrical productions, especially comedies, offer something new, according to the director.

"This is fun and inventive and new," he says. "This is fresh and happening as you can get. For history buffs, it's huge. For musical-theater buffs, it's huge. There's a little something for everybody."

The production is recommended for adult audiences.

Contact Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.