The 59th season of the Barn Players in Mission, Kan. premiered with the award winning rock musical, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Written by Alex Timbers, with music and lyrics by Michael Friedman the production directed and choreographed by Guy Gardner runs through March 16.

The use of modern fashion, cell phones, and a slide show above the stage make this production just a little campier and extremely fun. Known as "Old Hickory" Andrew Jackson served as the seventh President and the first elected from the recently formed Democratic Party. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson takes a liberal look at his life from childhood through his days in the White House.

The Barn Players production is hilarious, especially in the first act, which is fast moving and entertaining to watch. Act One introduces the audience to several sensational numbers to the stage; "I'm Not That Guy," "I'm So That Guy," and "Rock Star" among others. "Ten Little Indians" performed by the ensemble is undoubtedly the best score of Act One. The harmonies blend smoothly and the song is exciting and very humorous.

Matthew Pierce portrays Andrew Jackson throughout the play. If you do not laugh as he holds a small pair of boots against his knees and watches arrows strike his parents you might want to check your pulse. Pierce shows superb comedic timing throughout the show and has a wonderful voice. He provides the audience with a strong, powerful, yet comical performance.

In her first starring role at the Barn Players Beth Benedict portrays Rachel Jackson, the long-suffering wife of Andrew. She has a magnificent voice that blended in perfect harmony with the other cast members. With a slight flair for the dramatic, she provides a delightful performance and we look forward to seeing her in future productions.

As the tour guide and narrator of Andrew's life story Fran Kapono gives a sidesplitting performance. Though the entire production is very humorous, her performance stands out as laughter erupts each time she takes the stage.

This is the second production of this play I have seen in Kansas City and this is my personal favorite. The other was very well done, but the light-hearted actions, costuming, props, and scenery made this more memorable. Be aware that as characters die on stage the front row of the audience can become the splash zone.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson continues at the Barn Players through March 16. Their next production is the Follies, which runs from April 18 through May 4.

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Steve Wilson Steve Wilson is a professional writer, artist, and photographer living in the Kansas City metropolitan area. For the last two years, he has been writing theatrical reviews, covering more than a dozen theatrical companies in the area. Previously he has written comedy material for nationally known entertainers, taught comedy writing at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and has had two books published. He continues to write for an internet news service covering sports, travel, and art in the area.

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