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A political song and dance

When “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” opened on Broadway earlier this month, President Andrew Jackson began his campaign to win over the Great White Way one musical number at a time. The show brings the age of Jackson to life onstage, from his early life on the frontier and his campaign for the White House, to his enforcement of the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

With help from leading man Benjamin Walker, writer-director Alex Timbers uses a range of theatrical styles to tell the story of the man he calls the “original populist charmer.” While the action takes place in the early 19th century, many of the show’s political themes still resonate today.

Need to Know anchor Jon Meacham, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his 2008 biography of Jackson, “American Lion,” discusses the show’s contemporary relevance with both Timbers and Walker. Behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage and vivid production footage combine to give a sense of how the show went from page to stage.

Related: See our First Look video in which Timbers discusses his creative process and vision for the show.

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  • DavyXO

    Is there a reasonable explanation for your failure to present Jackson’s Indian Removal actions with an informative level of detail? You should understand that the mass of untutored viewers will not recognize that literate, educated, settled agricultural Cherokees were the victims of this. The average ahistorical American will have a vague image of Plains Indians on the warpath, or something equally irrelevant, not to mention stereotypically mistaken. Many of them will imagine a vague justification for the ethnic cleansing, and will take your use of the term as one of those “Liberal” hyperboles. Even those with more appreciation of the genocidal actions will have little knowledge of the specific betrayals of Jackson’s Trail of Tears.

    It was not a contest between migratory pre-industrial peoples and Manifest Destiny. It was a decision akin to that of the internment of Japanese-Americans in WWII, permitting the appropriation of all the property and lands of hard-working Americans.

    It would have taken you a couple of sentences to clarify this. Are you too timid to push the point home?

    Why did you remain silent on the heart of the matter? It, too, is echoed in the stupid inappropriate actions of the current Jacksonian mob.

  • guest

    Perhaps the ‘mass of untutored viewers’ saw the recent PBS special on AJ, and might therefore know about the Cherokee Tragedy? Are PBS viewers such a mass?

  • Carole WhoDat GoodShield

    DavyXO, may I quote you? You said exactly what I would have liked to say, but I’m sure more eloquently.