'Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson' rewrites history

December 2, 2010 3:44:00 AM PST
A new musical on Broadway redefines our seventh president, Andrew Jackson, who went by the nickname "Old Hickory." But in this show, he is portrayed as a rock star.

"Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson" has been called "rough, rauchous and raunchy." The show is closing a month from now, so there's not much time to see a charismatic new star, Benjamin Walker, who plays Andrew Jackson.

"We watch Jackson become a man as the country grows up through the course of the play," Walker said.

This musical is hardly the way the seventh president of the United States is traditionally remembered.

The Andrew Jackson portrayed in the show is a very modern rocker, whose words and deeds often echo current events.

"Now that the midterms are over, we got a bunch of new people in office," Walker said. "Now they're facing the same questions that Jackson faced. Now that you've done it, now you're in office, now what do you do?"

The show was a hit Off-Broadway, but this version is louder and raunchier than the typical big budget musical found along the Great White Way.

"The theater community is largely an elderly community, and we're trying to bring young people into the theater," Walker said.

The idea is to take a downtown vibe and move it uptown.

"I had a woman pay me one of the highest compliments she possibly could the other night," Walker said. "She said 'It was too loud, it was too bright, but I'm going to go home and Google Andrew Jackson.' I thought, thank you. Mission accomplished."

The mission, Walker says, is to provoke and to excite.

"The arts always needs new product, new story tellers, new performers," Walker said. "And we're lucky to have been embraced by this community."

At 28 years old, Walker is hearing talk of a Tony Award for his performance, and Hollywood's been calling.

In fact, there was talk of a role for him in the new "X-Men" movie before "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson" moved to Broadway.

"My only goals are really to work with people who I learn from and who inspire me," Walker said. "The rest is gravy, and I have gotten to do this on this project."

"Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson" is set to close on January 2.

There was talk of a role for Walker in the new "X-Men" movie, but the actor stayed with "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson" when the show moved to Broadway. He explained that if he has missed the chance to make his Broadway debut in this particuliar musical, he would have regretted it the rest of his life.

Now that it's closing, he reportedly has plenty of offers to do other movies.

Please visit Sandy Kenyon's blog for more entertainment news at wabc.typepad.com/whatsandysays