Raleigh Little Theatre in North Carolina announced January 12 that it canceled its production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson scheduled for May.
Indyweek.com reports the theatre chose to cancel the play after conversations with the Native community.
This isn’t the first time the play has been canceled. Stanford University canceled it in 2014, and a showing of it brought public protests in Minneapolis.
The play was chosen for the Raleigh Little Theatre before the arrival of new artistic director, Patrick Torres, who began conversations with the Native Community.
He told the INDY that he saw no way to continue the production with Native support.
“No matter how the play is executed, the Native American community feels that it comes at the expense of historical facts and atrocities that [Jackson] instigated against their ancestors and family. There was no accurate and clear way to engage them in the process; as an institution, we would be excluding them from the production,” Torres told the INDY.
“No matter how great the production was, what [the conversations] ultimately said was there was not a way to do it that is not potentially hurtful to them,” Torres continued.
In 2012, ICTMN spotlighted Andrew Jackson as our top pick for worst U.S. president—because he earned his “Indian Killer” nickname and was a major proponent of Indian removal.
The satirical play makes Jackson a populist rock star and includes lyrics like: “We’re gonna take this country back for people like us.”
Jeffrey Mathews, a performing arts professor at Washington University in St. Louis, doesn’t feel the play glorifies Jackson. He told Slate that, “By the end of the musical, you’re meant to ask yourself, ‘Was Jackson actually the American Hitler?’”
The Hitler comparison is brought up again by playwright Rhiana Yazzie of New Native Theater in an open letter published by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in June 2014. “The truth is that Andrew Jackson was not a rockstar and his campaign against tribal people ... is not a farcical backdrop to some emotive, brooding celebrity. Can you imagine a show wherein Hitler was portrayed as a justified, sexy rockstar?”