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HERE'S RANDY ANDY YOUNG GENERAL AND PRESIDENT AS UNCOUTH ROCK STAR? HE IS IN THIS 'BLOODY' MUSICAL.

Byline: EVAN HENERSON

>THEATER WRITER

He massacres Indians and sings a love duet with his future wife while the two of them are engaged in medicinal bleeding. He defies presidential authority and becomes a war hero. He's a fun-loving, hard-drinking buffoon who gives George Washington political advice and then reminds him, "Please tell Martha to keep the bed warm for me."

As conceived by Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman, this man is a cross between George W. Bush and Owen Wilson, with perhaps a dollop of Will Ferrell thrown in.

He is our nation's seventh president, Andrew Jackson. Or, as Timbers and Friedman musically put it, "Andrew (bleeping) Jackson." And in the Timbers/Friedman musical "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson," he feels your pain.

"We sort of came to the conclusion that for many reasons, Andrew Jackson is the epitome of the 'emo' president," says Timbers, book writer and director of "Andrew Jackson," which premiered last week at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. "Putting those together sort of unlocked an idea of how you might do kind of a hagiography of Jackson that was exciting but relevant."

"You can easily draw parallels to George W. and easily draw parallels to Bill Clinton," adds Friedman, the musical's composer and lyricist. "Certainly (Barack) Obama, (Mike) Huckabee possibly a little more than Hillary Clinton. There's a little bit of John Edwards and even John McCain riding that spirit of bringing together the party and changing everything."

Of course, the Jackson depicted in "BBAJ" isn't anybody that the politicos would throw up as a leader. Then again, the man got his face on the $20 ...

"Jackson was also the first president who campaigned," says Friedman. "He invented the much different idea of going to the people and campaigning for yourself. Again, that's him as a kind of star and celebrity in a more contemporary way."

While a student at Harvard University, Friedman took a class in "Jacksonian America: 1815-45." When he brainstormed collaborative ideas with Timbers, the two men -- both of whom run theater companies in New York -- quickly found common ground in the man who founded the Democratic party and came to be known as Old Hickory.

Through his company, Les Freres Corbusiers, Timbers goes in for irreverent works about current and historical figures. (His L. Ron Hubbard-skewering "A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant" played Santa Monica's Powerhouse Theatre a few years back.) Friedman's group, The Civilians, creates theatrical works out of documentary-style interviews.

"BBAJ's" common ground is the "emo" movement that taps the music and culture of a 27-year-old punk singer rhapsodizing, half ironically, over the girl who broke his heart when he was 13. And who better to go in for emotive confession than the man who bled the nation?

"It's so serious that it's funny, and so funny that it's weirdly moving in that zeitgeist sincerity, irony way," says Timbers. "Jackson epitomizes that. He really did try to channel the suffering of the people."

Part rock-star satire, part history lesson, "BBAJ" genre-hops between too-earnest PBS documentary and full-out rock musical. And then there's the dealing of the Indian tragedy and Jackson's love for his wife, Rachel, both of which "BBAJ" will depict without send-up or irony.

"I don't think we have a dull evening," Friedman says. "That I can guarantee."

Evan Henerson (818) 713-3651

evan.henerson(at)dailynews.com

BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON

>Where: Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City.

>When: 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday; through Feb. 17.

>Tickets: $20 to $50. (213) 628-2772, www.CenterTheatre

Group.org.

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Title Annotation:LA.COM
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 26, 2008
Words:611
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