They just announced that one of the many great hopes for Broadway this season, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, is set to close in a few weeks. This is an excellent lesson in how much sway and power critics have and, in some cases, don’t have.
There’s an unusual bumper crop of new musicals this season. There are 11 new musicals that have already opened or are set to open. I tend to NOT see many musicals. If I have a little coin in my pocket for a cheap ticket, I’ll usually opt for a play. But I did see this last month.
It came with a good pedigree. It was born downtown at The Public Theater, which can get kind of avant garde-y at times. I liked the premise; President Andrew Jackson is played as an emo punk rocker. The songs are all rough-edge loud numbers that, supposedly, could have fit into Rent (which I never saw). All this noise is going on while Jackson wipes out the entire Native American population. Excellent fun. I thought I had nothing to lose!
The critics fell all over themselves with praise. The Public is a small theater so, naturally, a ticket was impossible to come by. The producers saw sugar plum dollar signs dancing in front of their eyes and they moved it uptown to a Broadway house. They re-reviewed it when it reopened on Broadway and there was more gushing from the critics about the lead and the score and how it was going to pull the kids into the theater.
Well, guess what? It was really boring. The songs were pretty snappy but there were long stretches—especially after Jackson takes office—where not a hell of a lot happens. Again, someone behind me fell fast asleep and started snoring LOUDLY.
So stuff it, Ben Brantley of the New York Times. It’s closing on January 2nd. And although I’ll never get that evening back, you owe me the cost of the ticket, you dickhead.
I loved the ad campaign. Look at that imagery and tag line on the poster! Fantastic. It didn’t help.