Category Archive for: ‘Flora Lynn Isaacson’

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson: Rock Musical Launches SF Playhouse To A New Home

President Jackson ponders a difficult decision on how to deal with Indians (Ashkon Davaran & Michael Barrett Austin)

The SF Playhouse’s 10th season gets off to an energetic start in a new theatre at 450 Post Street known as Theatre On the Square. Perfect for an election year, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson has a book by Alex Timbers who was nominated for a Tony. The music and lyrics are by Michael Friedman.  Ashkon Davaran, who made a splash with his rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin'” during the Giants 2010 World Series game leads the cast as Andrew Jackson.

Alex Timbers’ book re-imagines and reinvents the life of President Andrew Jackson, and Michael Friedman sets it to an infectious rock score.  Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson tells the story of the pioneer of humble stock–known as “Old Hickory” who invented the Democratic Party, moved the Indians west and rose to the highest office in the land as our 7th President.  The show also tracks his humble beginnings on the Tennessee frontier to his days as a Populist Commander-In-Chief where he wrestles political power away from the elite.

Ashkon Davaran is dynamic as Andrew Jackson.  He is the only one in the cast portraying only one character.  The eleven person ensemble that also doubles as the band includes Michael Barrett Austin whose Martin Van Buren is a bundle of laughs, El Beh who acts, sings, dances, plays the cello and brings down the house with her “Ten Little Indians,” Angel Burgess in a moving performance as Jackson’s wife, William Elsman’s outstanding John C. Calhoun, Jonathan Fadner, the Bandleader, Safiya Fredericks who does double duty as Henry Clay and Black Fox, Lucas Hatton as James Monroe, Ann Hopkins who is delightful as the Storyteller and Olive Mitra as John Quincy Adams.

Jon Tracy’s direction is in your face and energetic.  Nina Ball’s set is an impressive outline of the capitol dome, a perfect environment for what amounts to a musical in the form of a rock concert with flashy lighting design by Kurt Landisman.  This is presentational theatre, not representational theatre.

According to Artistic Director Bill English, “We’ll never look at a twenty dollar bill quite the same way again.”

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson runs through November 24, 2012. Performances are at 7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 3 p.m. Saturday.  Performances are held at 450 Post Street (2nd floor of Kensington Park Hotel b/n Powell and Mason), San Francisco.  For tickets, call 415-677-9596 or go online at

Coming up next at SF Playhouse is Bell, Book and Candle by John Van Druten and directed by Bill English opening December 8, 2012.

Flora Lynn Isaacson


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