Students rock out to “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” musical at VPAC

Champaign Williams

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The cast of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (BBAJ), a rock-themed musical based on 19th century history in the U.S., end their Sunday production with an empowering pose. BBAJ was performed at the Experimental Theatre of the Valley Performing Arts Center and will be running until Sept. 29. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Photo Editor

CSUN’s production of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” sold out last weekend. The show took place Friday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets ranged from $20 for the general public, to $15 for students with a valid CSUN I.D.

Garry Lennon, theater department professor and chair, directed the show alongside musical director Philip Matthew Park.

“I think this is a really great cast and I think that this is really specifically our production. In (many) cases, we made our own choices that made the play really  (fit) CSUN,” Lennon said. “I think (this) is good. The show relates more to our students and our interpretation of it.”

“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” is a historical, comedic and satirical musical that evaluates the life of the United States’ 7th president.

The Daily Sundial sat down with a few of the cast members from “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” and asked them about their experiences during the production.

The Daily Sundial sat down with a few of the cast members from “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” and asked them about their experiences during the production.

bloody-bloody-3Q: Describe your character for us.

A: I’m Andrew Jackson, and I am not necessarily the focal point of the show but I am in it all the time. Andrew Jackson is [the] President of our fine country and he is the one that really did come up with the democratic system of our country. It used to be passed down generationally…and was kind of an inside job until he came. He really was the people’s president [and] he took the world by storm. It’s kind of incredible.

 

Q: Would you say Andrew Jackson was a little violent?

A: Uh, yeah (smiles). He is probably by far the most crazy president we have had. He didn’t take shit. He was known to actually duel while he was president, pistol duel. There are about 13 recorded duels, none of which he lost. One [pistol duel] he took a hit to the shoulder but he kind of brushed it off and proceeded to win. He was the first president to use his veto power. So, he really didn’t take anybody’s mess, and he really did do what he thought the people wanted and what he thought was right regardless of all the opposition that he [faced].

 

Q: What challenges did you face having to play Andrew Jackson?

A: Really delving into his persona, if that makes sense. I don’t consider myself an angry person, I consider myself a very nice person. Bleeding [cutting] yourself is a very strange concept. Especially the feeling of that cold metal on your skin, it makes you tingle a little bit. It is a little weird but it was a common thing at that time. It was strange finding a connection [and] an arousal to that sort of thing.

 

Q: What was your favorite musical number to perform?

A: I think “Rockstar”. Just because it’s all that energy in the middle, it’s a ball, you can’t stop it. And quite frankly, I get to play with the audience so that’s fun.

 

Q: Name one of your favorite characters to work with?

A: I’d have to say one of my favorite characters to work with is definitely between Black Fox and my partner, Rachel. I’ll pick Black Fox because those scenes are really interesting and there’s a lot of depth in them. Initially there (doesn’t seem) to be a lot of depth in them. But then as the show goes on, especially in that last scene, it is kind of heavy and there are a lot of levels to play.

 

bloody-bloody-2Q: Describe your character for us.

A: Amy is the youngest in her family and she is like the wild child. She has no filter (and) she’ll go out and make out with a girl or cuss just for the hell of it. She’s not very bright. So that’s what I think of Amy.

Q: What was it like being Amy?

A: Uh, fairly easy. (laughs) Nah, I’m kidding. It was really cool because I am a very serious person. I am very much a perfectionist and detail oriented. So it was really great to be in the show and to let it all out, [to] let the energy burst out of me and let myself be totally in the moment. It was very fun.”

 

Q: What was your favorite musical number in the show?

A: Probably “Rockstar”. The musical number where Andrew Jackson and the lead singer at that point are like rockin’ out and the chorus comes together and they’re like “why don’t you just shoot me in the head!” It’s the [song] that has the most energy in it and I feel like I just get to let loose. “Populism” and “Rockstar” are my favorite ones.

 

bloody-bloody-1Q: What character did you play?

A: I play various characters. However the main character I played was Henry Clay. He was the evil villainous senator.

 

Q: Do you have a favorite musical selection?

A: I’d say my favorite is “I’m Not That Guy” because it kind of gets the feel of the show, how we want the audience to feel, and how Andrew Jackson is feeling at that current moment. It tells more of a story. It’s when we come out with all of the guns and we’re hittin’ it (does a silly dance move).

 

Q: Did you face any challenges trying to embody these different characters?

A: Yes, I did. Man, I played eight characters throughout the show, so constantly remembering which character I am is hard in its own right. But the challenge that I found was trying to distinguish a West Virginia accent from Henry Clay, and a Tennessee accent from everyone else I play in the show. It’s weird [because] they’re both similar, so I just tried to find the difference between the two.

 

Q: Do you sing?

A: I do sing. I have sung my entire life. I started in the church singing gospel music, which kind of led to me doing musicals, which eventually led to me doing straight plays, which eventually led to me doing commercials, which eventually led to me being here where I am right now. So singing started it all.

“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” will be performed this week starting Tuesday afternoon to Sunday afternoon at the Experimental Theatre in VPAC.

Jared Tkocz, 21, theatre major, played the role of Andrew Jackson (Right). Carino Sapiro, 21, theatre major, was ensemble. When asked what Tkocz thought about his role, he said, “I realize now how deep and interesting [Andrew Jackson] was and how he felt he was between a rock and a hard place.” Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Photo Editor

The actors apply their makeup and put on their costumes in their dressing rooms. Theatre majors, Daniel Guerrero, 25, played the role of John C. Calhoun (Left), and Logan Allison, 20, played the role of James Monroe (Right). Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Photo Editor

The actors touched up their makeup for a photo shoot that took place after the play. Theatre major, Brooke Van Grinsven, 20, played the role of Rachel, Jackson’s wife. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Photo Editor