A proud native of the Second City, producer Jenny Lawton joined Studio 360 in 2007. Since then, she's produced the show's American Icons specials on the Disney parks and I Love Lucy, lots of stories in the Aha Moments series, and a portrait of the Japanese tea ceremony from Kyoto. She also serves as the managing editor of studio360.org and coordinates the show's internship program. Jenny started recording interviews as a Watson Fellow in India and Spain, researching the origins of flamenco dance. She cut her teeth in journalism at Chicago Public Radio, where she filed stories on culture, politics, technology, and the environment for WBEZ as well as NPR's Morning Edition and PRI's The World, among other programs. Jenny was awarded a USC-Annenberg/NEA Arts Journalism Fellowship, and lectures about radio and sound design at NYU and her alma mater, Kenyon College.
Andrew Jackson Rules
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 01:42 PM
Part history lesson, part satire, part blood bath — a lovely night at the theater, no? “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” (now up at New York’s Public Theater) is a singing, dancing, punk-rocking rollick through the 7th presidency by Les Freres Corbusier, a company that delights in re-imagining well-known historical figures. They're known for turning said figures on their heads and, in this case, winning some of the highest praise of the season doing so.
This Andrew Jackson is the opposite of what you learned in high school. He’s bold, haughty, fearless, and damn cool. One moment he’s conquering the West. The next he’s mouthing off to the stuffy clowns running Washington. Sure, his politics are complicated: we see Jackson battle, befriend, buy-out, and ultimately displace Native Americans (all in cartoony slapstick). We also see him strain under the weight of popular rule — the ideology on which he rose to power.
Not to be underrated is the pleasure of sitting in a theater transformed into a hipster, steam punk hunting lodge: chandeliers and baubles hang from the ceiling, taxidermy litters the walls — including an entire horse at the end of an aisle!
After passing 100 performances, the show has to close this weekend. There’s buzz that it could move to Broadway — which would be great, of course, I'm all for inventive and timely musical theater getting a big audience. But there’s something about this larger-than-life world that reads so well when it’s bursting at its own seams. Just like the upstart for which it is named, the show rings truest when it’s resisting The Man — we can’t help but be cynical when Jackson becomes just that.
UPDATE (7/15): "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" will, indeed, rock Broadway beginning September 21, 2010.