Some Guys Have All the Luck

In 1834, Andrew Jackson was president; in 2014, he’s a rock star.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

A rock-musical biography of the seventh U.S. president? Sure, why not? Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson redefines the man—at once an American hero and an American villian—as a contemporary rock star. “It makes the story relevant to our time,” says Steven Meerdink, artistic director of Minneapolis Musical Theatre, whose specialty is rarely produced, and often unconventional, musicals.

The show is staged as a rock concert, with the band playing what Meerdink calls “just good solid rock” onstage as the story unfolds in front of it. It’s historically accurate, Meerdink says, but retold from a modern perspective that presents Jackson as the first populist president. “In that way, there is a parallel with Obama—battling the old-school political elites,” he says. At the same time, the play does not shy away from Jackson’s dark side and horrific acts, “like his slaughtering of Native Americans.”

A complex man in a complex political world. Contemporary, indeed. June 6–29. New Century Theatre, 615 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-455-9501