Rocking & Rollicking Good Time
~by David ClarkeJuly 15 http://www WW- Reviews-BLOODYBLOODY-ANDREW-JACKSON-A-Rocking-Rollicking-Good-Time-20120715#.UzN7WNyKKBg
Patriotism seems to be a running theme in the Houston theatre scene this
summer, and each piece is just as mesmerizing as the one before it.
Generations: A Theatre Company's fantastic contribution to this summer's
theme of patriotism is Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman's Wild West,
rock anthem filled musical BLOODY BLOODY Andrew Jackson .
While rollicking and humorous on the surface, BLOODY BLOODY
Andrew Jackson has a deep soul and holds up a mirror to our contemporary
political situations in the United States. All the while, this magnificently
created show examines Jackson's childhood, the death of his family to
"cholera," his renegade ideas, his meteoric rise in government, his
relationship with his wife, the elections of 1824 and 1828, populism, and
his presidency. All of this is done through a traditional musical
presentation that is often interrupted with asides to the onstage band, onstage discussions of the metaphors being presented, and commentary about
the craft and magic of live theatre.
Kregg Daily , as Andrew Jackson, is a true delight in this show. I had previously seen him as Gabe in NEXT
TO NORMAL at Stages Repertory Theatre-a role that did not allow him to truthfully showcase his
powerhouse skills. Therefore, I was a bit nervous to see him take on this meaty role. However, his impressive
rockstar chops, which easily rival the talents of any big name superstar you can think of, prove that he simply
was born to play this kind of role and Andrew Jackson in particular. His stage presence, charisma, and charm
command the audience's attention, keeping spectators riveted throughout the entire performance. Kregg Daily
is a powerhouse force to be reckoned with in this show, and may even outshine Benjamin Walker who
originated the role of Andrew Jackson in Lose Angeles and went on to play it to critical acclaim in New York
and on the original cast recording.
Stephanie Styles is purely divine as Rachel Jackson and other various characters. She brings heart and soul
into each performance and delivers beautiful and enchanting vocals. Of other productions of the show, I am
only familiar with what is represented on the original cast album; however, I would take Stephanie Styles
renditions of this score over Maria Elena Ramirez, who played the role on Broadway, any day.
Allison Sumrall is hilarious as The Storyteller and makes comedic timing look so simple in her line delivery.
Before seeing tonight's performance, I was not aware that this role existed in the show, and Allison Sumrall
delivers a performance that as surprisingly comic as it is enjoyable.
Grant Brown as Martin Van Buren, Luis Quintero as Black Fox and other various roles, and Morgan Starr as
Ten Little Indians soloist and other various roles all stand out as exceptionally memorable as well. Each of
these actors delivers tangibly genuine and completely entertaining performances in their assigned roles. They
deliver full-fledged rock moments coupled with provoking, softer moments. All three are skilled and talented
enough to leave a mark on both the mind and spirit.
Tyee Green , Graham Baker, Billy Cohen, Forrest Surles, Dylan Hunt, JayTee Barbour, Anne Cape, and
Jennifer Laporte are delightful in their respective roles as well. In this show every one must pull their weight
to pull it off, and each of these actors do just that and then some.
The band, composed of Frank DeBretti, Matthew McDonald, Alan Simmons, Hugh Zabriskie, and led by
Forrest Surles are captivating as well. They are fantastic musicians but great actors too, interacting with
several characters across various scenes.
The direction by George Brock and choreography by Kristin Warren is superb. No action or dance move is
out of place and everything feels natural, which is quite a feat. Through their combined efforts, it is easy for
the audience to buy into the pairing of the 19th Century with the modern. The juxtapositions play off each
other well and add an experimental veracity and honesty to the show. I also feel that this team than pulls off
this unusual pairing better than Michael Mayer and Bill T. Jones did with SPRING AWAKENING on