This isn’t your grandparents’ Broadway. It’s not your parents’ either. That’s probably the best way of describing the new musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, a wicked, wacky and rocking new musical about populist political figure Andrew Jackson. The show, which can be described as 1/3 musical, 1/3 history lesson, and 1/3 sketch comedy, depicts the man who founded the Democratic Party and became our nation’s seventh president as a spoiled rock star in tight pants, who — depending on who you talk to — was either one of the best presidents ever or its most dangerous. The show leaves that open to interpretation, and decides to go for unorthodox laughs. For starters? The narrator takes a bullet to the neck within minutes into the first act.
Front and center in the comusical is Benjamin Walker, a young Broadway veteran who has appeared in films including Flags of Our Fathers and Kinsey. He’s been playing Jackson since December 2007, when it had its premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in L.A. From there, the show moved off Broadway, and eventually landed at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre last month. I met up with the actor at the theatre late last week fittingly at fireside (who cares if it was fake), and asked him about the show’s unlikely journey to Broadway. Taking a page from the show, which is extremely off the cuff, I kept the mood light — at least I tried to — and spontaneous (thanks guy who walked by in the middle of the interview — twice!).