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Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson @ Piper Theater, Brooklyn

TonyVincent Profile Photo
TonyVincent
Broadway Legend
joined:2/25/08
http://pipertheatre.org/performances/bloody-bloody-andrew-jackson/

Did anyone see this last week? Has anyone seen a prior Piper Theater production? I really enjoyed the show at the Public and on Broadway. I know not to expect the same here, but a competent production outdoors with a discreet BYOB in the summer could make for a very a nice evening. I don't usually venture out to Brooklyn, so I just want to avoid catastrophe, as an irreverent book like this one could easily become.
ksilver117
Swing
joined:5/9/12
Assuming plans don't get changed, I'll be seeing it tonight.
tobiasragg Profile Photo
tobiasragg
Broadway Legend
joined:7/17/06
Very curious to see if it's worth the trek to Park Slope.
"Bring down my things. I'm going out of this world exactly the way I came in to it: wearing a hat." - Colleen Donaghy, "30 Rock" -- "The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not."
TonyVincent Profile Photo
TonyVincent
Broadway Legend
joined:2/25/08
Please report back after the show!
ksilver117
Swing
joined:5/9/12

So the show, for a free production, is stellar. First the con - TONS of sound issues. Jackson's mic made scratching and popping noises whenever he moved at times, and actually died just before "I'm So That Guy" which was done without him being mic'd and made him inaudible, and it also died during "Rock Star". It took about five minutes but someone finally came on to give him a handheld mic, which if you've seen the original production you'll know actually fits quite nicely. Other than that, I don't have many issues with it. It is outdoors, so you do get background noise, but the set (which I think I've included, but I'm never sure if it's worked or not here) is very simple and works very effectively for this production. The cast is very strong. Sean Coughlin is a terrific Andrew Jackson, and hopefully they get his sound issues fixed, because it was a very enjoyable performance from him. The supporting cast, particularly Van Buren, are fantastic.
They have made a few changes to the music. "Second Nature" has been changed from a one man song to being sung by the entire cast, with the narrator as the lead singer. It works, but it was a surprise. I don't remember specifics for the rest of the musical changes, but none of them are as big as that - mainly just changes between which character sings what.
I promised a friend of mine that if it was a good production, I'd go with her on her day off, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so it looks like I'll be back there again soon. If you enjoyed the Broadway (or off-Broadway) productions, I do recommend it. It's not Broadway, but it's damn good. If you don't enjoy it, at least it was free. :P

HoldMeBatBOy
Swing
joined:5/2/09
Sounds great! Would love to hear thoughts from anyone else who goes to see it!
qafgenius12
Swing
joined:5/5/11
so for someone who doesnt often get out to Brooklyn or do Off-off, how does this all work, do you just show up, and get a spot, is there a line, tickets, wait, etc. Im just confused s to how it all works, I plan to go to the 19th's matinee, but Id like to know what Im in for beforehand...
ksilver117
Swing
joined:5/9/12
You basically show up and sit down. It's on an astroturf type of field, so bring a blanket, and you only have to show up an hour before showtime to get great seats. No tickets, no line, no anything like that.
The friend that wanted to go apparently only could do tonight, so I ended up there again. I'd like to say it was a first to do a show two nights in a row, but I really can't. :P
All of the major sound issues have been fixed, the cast was much more together, and it was like watching an entirely new show. It felt like going from an early dress rehearsal to opening night. It was fantastic. One thing I loved is that before the show started, the woman from Piper Theater came on stage to introduce the show, as last night... but with the addition of letting the audience know that the show contains a huge amount of swearing and racist imagery. It seemed to help the audience be much more comfortable with it.
As for the previously mentioned (and 99% fixed) sound issues, Jackson's wireless head mic still went out at about the same point as last night, but we only missed a few lines instead of the 3-4 minutes we missed last night, as they had a wireless handheld mic prepped and ready backstage that somebody handed to him at the next scene change, and Coughlin (Jackson) fit it in very well. He'd clearly thought out what to do if that happened again and how to make it work without being distracting. The only big problem now is that the conductor (on keys for the show) sings as well for the ensemble numbers, and the sound people apparently couldn't notice that he was almost all you could hear over the chorus, and also that he quite simply put can't sing well enough to be the only vocal you can hear. Whether that's due to poor training or being unable to hear himself, I don't know. What I do know is that it is incredibly distracting. Once that's fixed, it'll be an amazing production. (It already is, but that really, really needs to be fixed.)
TonyVincent Profile Photo
TonyVincent
Broadway Legend
joined:2/25/08
I went tonight. I'd say you only have to show up ~20 minutes early to still get very solid seats. Definitely bring a blanket, and if you have really short lawn chairs (the ones where you're almost on the ground), bring those too.

ksilver has it pretty much covered. I thought it was very enjoyable, especially for a free off-off kind of production. All the actors were engaging with good comedic timing. Jackson's vocals were a bit lacking, as he didn't quite have the upper range for the role, but was still good on the whole.

The biggest issue was the sound. If tonight was 99% fixed, I can't imagine how bad it must have been last night and on the 5th. In addition to Jackson's mic dying 20% of the way in (they couldn't switch in another one at intermission?), frequently actors' mics didn't turn on until they were halfway through their first line of the scene, so you missed words often. Additionally, the balance was terrible--most actors were too soft to hear over the band, except for individual mics here and there. I didn't realize it was the conductors' mic singing along most frequently until he led the curtain call. The show would be even more enjoyable if the sound issues were improved. I know most of the words so I didn't miss much. I imagine it was harder for those new to the material.

One other interesting change from the original production, with the addition of an intermission, was that they repeated most of the song "Rock Star," after intermission as if they hadn't performed it before. Never seen that done before. It's a fun song, though, so I won't complain to have heard it twice. They also cut the lines "stimulus package" and "popula-jizz-m," which were the only lines I heard cut in the show. Also odd, considering they're good for two laughs and aren't particularly crude relative to the rest of the dialog.

Anyway, I'd certainly recommend it to any fans of the show or those who missed it a few years back. Certainly better than lots of theater I've paid for this season. If they actually figure out the sound balance and mic issues, it'll really feel like a professional production.
Adair Haywind
Featured Actor
joined:4/2/14
Isn't it technically a professional production already? Equity members are involved. Either way, I'd love to see it. The set looks fantastic and intimate, not to mention this show works PERFECT for outdoor theatre.
HoldMeBatBOy
Swing
joined:5/2/09
qafgenius12: I believe that there are no matinees. Only 8pm shows
RippedMan Profile Photo
RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
Depends what you consider a professional production. Mind you, none of those actors (or probably technicians) are taking home paychecks from the show.
TonyVincent Profile Photo
TonyVincent
Broadway Legend
joined:2/25/08
I meant professional in the figurative sense, not the literal one. The sound issues were the only thing that made it feel markedly different than a production you'd see in a quality off-Broadway house. Not as good as the Public's production, obviously, but if I had seen this production at the Public 4 years ago instead, I wouldn't have thought it wasn't up to their standard.

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