By Alex Zabel
What do you get when you mix sex, racism, and the seventh president of the United States? One of Indiana University’s latest must-see musicals.
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is a brilliant production that tests the boundaries of theatre. The script is explicitly hilarious while still being incredibly impactful. The acting is phenomenally executed, and the plot will make you rethink history.
The outrageous punk-inspired costumes and politically charged show tunes aren’t the only unique features of this musical. The production is backed by one of Bloomington’s best jam bands. The Phunk Nasty’s have been rocking Bloomington since 2012, playing
anywhere from campus house parties to headlining at The Bluebird. The classically trained band members flawlessly interpret the original work of Michael Friedman. This is not the band’s first time performing in an IU Theatre production. However, front man Marshall Robbins admitted Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson has been one of the most surprising and moving musicals he has been a part of. I agree with Marshall when he says that the surprise ending will have you leaving the theatre with chills.
The most difficult part of performing on stage, according to the band, is picking up on cues that the actors give for them to start playing. Being on two separate levels on stage can complicate musical entrances and exits. However, the band has formed a great connection with music director Ray Fellman, and his guidance and expertise has allowed them to work seamlessly with the company.
Playing in a musical isn’t out of the ordinary for The Phunk Nasty’s. The Jacobs School of Music students have been the house theatre band at IU for many years and have participated in multiple productions. The band has performed during readings at the Bloomington Playwrights Project, and can be found backing up vocals at local recording studios.
In regards to the band’s versatility and inspiring participation in Bloomington’s music community, Robbins says it best. “That’s what jazz is about. It’s about learning the tradition, but the tradition allows you to be prepared to play anything, even a rock musical.”
Alex Zabel is an Arts Management major with a concentration in music and a psychology minor. From Northbrook, Illinois. Alex is a daycare teacher and loves working with children. Incredibly passionate about music and writing, she hopes to work for a record label in the city of Chicago or be music supervisor for film.