SF Playhouse Celebrates its 10th Season with a new home and the rock musical “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson,” through November 24, 2012
Rowdy adolescent emo-rock musical tells the life story of Andrew Jackson, a backwoods underdog, who by popular vote became the seventh President of the United States. Written by Alex Timbers with music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” opened on Broadway in 2009 to mixed reviews and was nominated for several Tonys. At San Francisco Playhouse, East Bay native Ashkon Davaran’s petulant Jackson struts about the stage bursting with a curious mix of adolescent aggression, passion, and populist fervor, supported by a large cast of frontier renegades whose singing was energetic but uneven throughout the opening evening performance. With a Presidential election just days away, Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson is amazingly relevant for its insights about the American people and our insatiable need to believe that all our problems can be fixed in snap. On the other hand, we’ve got so much overblown election drama on the tube right now, free of charge; it would take something exceptional to make one want to pay for more.
With its 10th anniversary and move to a much larger new venue that seats 225—the second floor theatre in the Elks-owned building that houses the Kensington Park Hotel and Farallon Restaurant on Post Street—SF Playhouse also changed its name to “San Francisco Playhouse.” As co-founder Susi Damilano said to a packed opening night house, “We’re all grown up now.” The theatre company, under the dynamic team leadership of Damliano and her husband, co-founder and artistic director, Bill English, has carved a niche for itself in the production of important contemporary plays by emerging playwrights, delivering a particularly strong 2011 season.
If you’re curious to experience San Francisco Playhouse’s new space and its inaugural production, get your adolescent self together and prepare for a loud, high-energy history lesson. This biting satire of the electoral process is clever in places but suffers from an over reliance on the F-word and inconsistency in delivery. I found myself either too old or too weary to want to sit through 90 assaulting minutes of it….though I did appreciate El Beh’s riveting cello solo “Ten Little Indians.”
Written by Alex Timber, music and lyrics by Michael Friedman. Directed by Jon Tracy. Music Director: Jonathan Fadner.
Details: Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson runs through November 24, 2012 at the SF Playhouse, 450 Post Street, (2nd Floor of Kensington Park Hotel, between Powell & Mason Streets), San Francisco, CA. Tickets: $30 to $70. Box Office: 415-677-9596 or www.sfplayhouse.org.
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