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Feb. 21, 2013
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

Slippery Rock University theatre offers 'Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson'

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Slippery Rock University theatre will present eight performances of the comedic rock musical "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson" from March 1-7, in the University Union. The show redefines America's seventh president, nicknamed "Old Hickory," as an "Emo" rock star in black jeans, boots and white Henley shirt.

The zesty mash up juxtaposes 19th century American history with contemporary culture for a satiric history lesson.

"Basically, it takes you from Jackson's early beginnings in Tennessee through his adventures as a military commander, his presidency and death," said David Skeele, SRU professor of theatre and the show's director. "It uses the historical facts of his life and presidency as a frame for the story. There are wild tonal shifts from silly comedy to some scenes that are quite moving, and it is presented with some really great rock music."

"Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson," voted the Broadway musical of the year by the New York Times and Rolling Stone Magazine, was written by Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman. It premiered in 2008 in Culver City, Calif. The New York premiere was in 2009 at The Public Theater and the Broadway premiere was in 2010 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

Jackson (1767-1845), who became president in 1828 and served two terms, inspired "Jacksonian Democracy." Historians refer to his presidency as "The Age of Jackson." The play also includes portrayals of other well-known 19th century Americans such as Henry Clay, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren and John C. Calhoun.

Skeele said the play provides interesting parallels between the adolescence of early America and modern adolescent culture.

"The show is a conflagration of the modern 'Emo' world with the 1820s," Skeele said. "It ends up being a perfect combination. It is really America in its adolescence - an America with raw emotions and raging hormones."

Gordon Phetteplace, associate professor of theatre and department chair, designed the set, which includes a hang drop of a huge U.S. map as it looked in the 1820s. Rebecca Morrice, assistant professor of theatre, is costume designer. Michael Boone, theatre department technical director, set up the technology.

The play reviews Jackson's legacy and the views attributed to him. Some believe he was one of America's greatest presidents, while others believe him to be a scoundrel. The final scene shows Jackson receiving an honorary doctorate at Harvard. He reflects upon his achievements and his questionable decisions.

The cast includes:

Zach Frye, an undeclared major from Beaver Falls, as Andrew Jackson;

Carina Iannarelli, a psychology major from Canonsburg, as Rachel Jackson;

Karter Schachner, a music major from Saxonburg, as the Bandleader;

Ethan Rochow, a theatre major from West Middlesex, as John. C. Calhoun;

Ryan Lubin, a secondary English education major from Bethel Park,

as Henry Clay;

Joe Karl, a theatre major from Moon Township, as James Monroe;

Daniel Strait, a music major from Huntingdon, as Martin Van Buren;

Tyler Smith, a senior secondary history education major from McDonald, as John

Quincy Adams; Sarah Tapparo, a Spanish major from Beaver, as the Storyteller;

Ernest Rose, a criminal justice major from New York City, as Black Fox;

Malic Williams, a theater major from Aliquippa, as Lyncoya; and

Kayleigh Walsh, theatre major from Beaver Falls, as the "10 Little Indian" soloist.

The cast ensemble includes Meg Rodgers, a psychology major from Bruin; Joey Streiff, a secondary English education major from Allison Park; Emily Watson, a psychology major from Virginia Beach, Va; Johnna Cwik, a dance major from Johnstown; Camara Rhodes, a dance major from Beallsville; and Chelsea Watts, a sustainable management major from Murrysville.

Danielle DePalma, a theatre major from Plum, is the production stage manager and assistant lighting designer; Margaret Rial and Kyle Wiltraut, theatre majors from Erie and Hershey, are the assistant stage managers; Zach Durler, a communication major from Cranberry, is the lighting designer; Alex Barnhart, a theater major from Butler, is the sound designer and assistant to the technical director; Samantha Kuchta, a theatre major from Lower Burrell, is the properties mistress; and Malic Williams is the public relations coordinator.

The show opens at 7:30 p.m. March 1 and will be performed at 2 and 7:30 p.m. March 3 and 7:30 p.m. March 4-7. There is no performance March 2. Tickets are $7 for students and $12 for the public. They can be purchased at the Smith Student Center Information Desk or at the door. For more information, call the SRU Theatre Box Office at 724.738.2645.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.