Skip to main content Skip to footer site map


'Jackson' is the bloody bloody brilliant musical rendition of one of America's most historically controversial figures.

Kyle Jurassic dominates the stage as the eyeliner-wearing, hip-thrusting emo frontman. He's wearing his tightest black jeans and a swagger so charismatic and charming that you almost forgive America's painful past and the atrocities committed during the age of populism.

We follow the enigmatic Jackson from tragic childhood through his legacy at the end of life. Accompanied by a hilariously flamboyant Van Buren (Jared Graybiel), he takes on the French, the Spanish, the native populations, and the pompous inhabitants of Washington D.C. at the point of a gun and with the love of the people (for a while).

"We're gonna take this country back for people like us/who don't just think about things," belts the cast in the opener "Populism, Yea, Yea". Yes, this is a highly over-the-top political satire, but it doesn't fall as far from reality as the viewer may think. Not only did many of the plot points depicted actually happen to our seventh President, but a hidden jewel amongst the snark and blood-soaked erotic metaphors is a truth that resonates in modern day politics. Between the perpetual battle between the elites and the common man, the cross-party bickering, the political popularity contests, the good old boys' club, and the supporters turning their backs on a dime when it's clear Jackson can't be everything to everyone, it's impossible not to think that very little has changed in the last couple of centuries.

Strong vocal performers keep the raucous energy alive throughout the course of the show, and the humor is both smarter and more profane than what you'll find in the standard musical. You will laugh 'til you howl at the star-struck Storyteller (Mackenzie Moira) and I can assure you that you'll never think of Old Hickory the same way again.

As they, themselves, will tell you, Actors' Theatre of Grand Rapids is THAT theatre: fearless in the face of controversy and always energetic and entertaining. And did I mention they're hot? Really hot?

Book by Alex Timbers; music and lyrics by Michael Friedman; choreographed and directed by Kyle Amanda Dutkiewicz. Presented by Grand Rapids Actors' Theatre at the GRCC Spectrum Theater; (616) 234-3946. Through February 22nd. For mature audiences. Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission.
WITH: Matt Ablan (various), Maddie Blyveis (various), Jason DeJager (Clay), Jared Graybiel (Van Buren), Jackie Green (various), Kyle Jurassic (Andrew Jackson), Connor Manion (Calhoun), Mackenzie Moira (Storyteller), Noddea Moore Skidmore (Rachel), Benjy Schirm (Adams), Colin Tobin (Monroe)

Come experience a staged reading of best stories from Steve Hughes's new book, NEW DELUX STUPOR—A CELEBRATION OF BAD IDEAS! Friday, March 24 & Saturday, March 25 at Planet Ant. The book features seven out-of-print issues from the longest-running zine in Detroit, written between the years of 2006–2007 when many zine writers had quit producing print media in favor of blogging.

The Encore Musical Theatre Celebrates Womens History Month With DIVAS: A CELEBRATION OF DI Photo
The Encore Musical Theatre Company has announced its upcoming tribute concert, 'Divas: A Celebration of Divas of Pop', in honor of Women's History Month. This exciting event will take place from March 23-26th and feature chart-toppers made famous by some of the greatest female pop icons of all time.

The Sauks SAUK SHORTS, Featuring Ten Short Plays, to be Presented This Week Photo
Sauk Shorts is an annual presentation of short plays. This year's production includes ten short plays including five by local playwrights. Performances of Sauk Shorts are March 23-25 at 8 p.m. A 3 p.m. matinee will be performed on March 26.

World-Premiere Musical THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN Tells Story Of 1996 Olympic U.S. Womens Gymna Photo
FIM Flint Repertory Theatre presents another world premiere with The Magnificent Seven March 31 – April 16. With book and lyrics by Gordon Leary and music by Julia Meinwald, this dazzling new show explores the inner lives of the 1996 U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team as they capture the nation's imagination while competing for Olympic Gold.

From This Author - Cassandra Sandros