Great finds were key to Emily Rebholz’s costumes for Broadway’s Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Her aesthetic evolved from the Western stylization of the emo group, Panic! At the Disco, and keeps up with the current scene. To answer the first question that comes up when watching the show or even looking at its provocative ad, no, Walker’s jeans aren’t that tight; they’re tighter. “The tighter they are, the more comfortable they are for him to move in,” Rebholz says. “That’s the whole emo-and-eyeliner look, which, for him, does get more presidential over time with the addition of a tuxedo jacket. The real Andrew Jackson wore a blue general’s coat, but with Ben wearing black jeans and stark white Henley shirts and setting a different tone, we decided that his arc should be '70s rock star, based on the military jackets that were popular at that time. It feels like a general’s jacket; it’s a little Andrew Jackson, but it’s more a jacket for a rock star.”
Other costumes were creatively rummaged from different sources as the show developed. “The other Washingtonians are way more foppish, with ruffs and frills and jewelry that are a bunch of found objects I pulled from boxes at Yale, where I went to school and designed shows with that kind of costuming,” Rebholz says. “Everything is styled to the individual, so there’s a Lagerfeld rock star idea in there, too—'70s prairie chic, politician clothing—all on a tight color palette that Alex laid out. We begin with sepia tones and then move into a gray, black, and blue world. We really had to pump up the clothes to pop out in the ornate setting and saturated lighting. And, like the set pieces, they’re layered with history, from th
e previous productions and the different people who contributed to them.” While Andrew Jackson’s opinion of all this is unknown to history, he might be pleased to know that Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is opening up a new frontier for Broadway musical theatre.
Robert Cashill, a former editor of the former Lighting Dimensions, has been part of the LD universe since 1994. Cashill, a member of the New York-based Drama Desk and the Online Film Critics Society, is the film editor of Popdose.com. He says you know you’re a design writer when you’re happy to have been seated in the mezzanine for a show like Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, allowing a fuller view of the production.