Interview: Benjamin Walker and the cast of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Fri Nov 5 2010
The reviews are divisive. The irreverence of the show seems to really speak to people or truly upset them—and you're also part of a movement that's bringing a new sound to Broadway, which not everyone appreciates.
Young: It's personal in some ways to everybody. Our show has to touch a nerve because it's so current and political. Politics can really galvanize you no matter what, because it really has to do with you as a citizen and your belief systems. I think it's amazing that some reviews can use language like sophomoric, while other reviews can talk about the same thing being incisive and biting. Some people think this is moving the world forward, and some people think it's regressive. But that to me is progress.
Speaking of progress, the rock & roll debauchery you engage in is atypical of the usual Broadway polish. Do you pour anything interesting in those silver mugs to toss back onstage?
Walker: No. We have them right before a big knife fight, so we gotta take it easy.
What would you put in them?
Walker: Ah, what wouldn't we put in them?!? [Laughs]
When you go out drinking as a cast, what do you order?
Cullen Roberts: Maker's Mark Manhattan, I've been enjoying that.
Young: There's two loves in my life: a single-malt Scotch and now, a Hendrick's gimlet. It's fresh.
Walker: I think most of the men in the show are just whiskey drinkers. Bourbon. Knob Creek. Don't mess with it. Maybe put an ice cube in it. Otherwise, just let it burn and call it a night.
Do you frequent bars in the Theater District after shows?
Walker: Yeah, we like Pony Bar, O'Hurley's, Three Monkeys in midtown. Everyone on the show is a good time. There's not a weak link. I mean, look at them! [Points at his costars] They're line-dancing of their own volition. Midtown is hard because the problem is, you're either not welcome somewhere or you don't want to be there. When we were downtown at the Public, we used to go to Swift. A few dressing rooms are also like bars.
You mean during the show?
Walker: No, we drink there afterward. I mean, the producers gave us moonshine opening night, for crying out loud. It's in the spirit of the show—blatant adolescence, seeing how far you can push stuff.
Is there a bar in NYC that you think would be Andrew Jackson's local?
Walker: Union Hall. It's perfect. It's rustic, it has a youthful feel, fireplaces, books, bocce ball...
Where could you see [Governor-elect] Andrew Cuomo or Carl Paladino knocking one back?
Walker: Some Dumpster in midtown? Both of them, sharing a Scotch.
Young: In the same bar.
Walker: Somewhere they congregate and drink baby's tears.
Much has been made of the absurdly tight pants that Ben wears in the show. I feel like the ladies are left out. Is there something we don't know about your costumes?
Cullen Roberts: The girls wear Bumpits! Especially during the edgier, rockier numbers. I like to channel Snooki.
And Ben, do you wear jeans that constricting on your own time?
Walker: No! Absolutely not.
Those are built-in knee-pads, people may be interested to learn. They remind me of a pair of leggings Lindsay Lohan once designed.
Walker: They're necessary. Everybody takes a thorough whupping in this show.
Are they difficult to take off?
Walker: It's not pleasant. Hey, can you explain to me why some dudes wear those tight, tight pants but they're loose up top so you can't move and your ass is hanging out at the same time?
No. But I do know some boys who used to wear skinny jeans from the girls' department.
Walker: What?!? Oh God.
Come on, could you imagine doing what you do in a pair of wide-legged skater jeans?
Walker: No. Absolutely not. That's a good point. It has to be this. I gotta take one for the team. I'm 28 years old, and my whole career, thus far, has been based entirely on my pants.