If we can’t have Ben Walker… we really don’t want any of these people, either.
Need yourself a preppy cousin? A handsome trickster? A secretly-crooked young lawyer? Aaron Tveit is your boy. If you’re looking for an Andrew Jackson, though, you best look elsewhere. Yes, he has a solar plexus of steel and a Robert-Redford-in-The-Candidate kind of semi-evil political glow about him, but his charm isn’t exactly vintage, nor does it run much deeper than his blemish-free skin. Really, though, Tveit is just way too straightforward for anything as twistily self-aware—and, gulp, smart—as Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. He’s like that guy Sandy dated to get back at Danny in Grease. He’s cute, but in the end we’re craving someone with a little more substance.
Obviously, we find Will Swenson irresistible (just like Audra McDonald does). He’s tall, dark and handsome, with piercing green eyes and the voice of a very loud, baritone angel. But despite these wonderful things, we don’t want Swenson going anywhere near our precious Andrew Jackson. This is partly because he’s no spring chicken and the whole conceit of Bloody Bloody is that Jackson is being portrayed as his inner petulant-teen. (Swenson was supposedly a teenager in Hair. But let’s be real, he looked much more like a super-super-super senior. In college.) Plus, Swenson may play big, doofy, loose-limbed comedy with ease, but Andrew Jackson couldn’t be any less doofy or rubbery if he tried and we wouldn’t have him any other way.
Yes, there’s something distinctly presidential about that wide-as-a-cinder-block forehead, and feel free to pull a fiver out of your wallet to compare. And if he got the role, he’d get to play his own age (in at least one act), which would be a nice departure. But there’s something about Chase’s rockstar insinuations that we still don’t quite buy. He played Roger in Rent and whatever that guy’s name was in High Fidelity—we’ve blocked it out—but Chase just seems like a standard, utterly traditional musical theater dude to us. And Andrew Jackson needs more edge than that. Look at it this way: In the musical of Will Chase’s life, he’d be played by Aaron Tveit. We’d buy a ticket on the probable chance that his shirt would come off, but we’d be pissed that we didn’t see Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson instead.
I mean, maybe this could work? On some remote planet? Like Ben Walker, Kimball looks like a comic strip of himself in certain lighting, and there’s a waft of Young George Bush about him. But we’re still hung up on his performance in Memphis, where he seemed like he had a disease that made him walk and talk weird. It is so burned into our collective memory that we’re concerned that Kimball will somehow figure out how to make weird walking and weird talking part of every performance he ever gives. And for Andrew Fucking Jackson, that just won’t do.
As anyone who sat in the front row at West Side Story will attest, there’s no denying that he’s got the body for Andrew Jackson’s quadricep-hugging britches and snug, bloody henley. But unfortunately for Cavenaugh, filling out the costume is only 36% of this role. The rest is about character—smart-mouthed, growly-emo-punk, frat president/lead singer character. And there is absolutely nothing about this earnest matinee idol that’s snarling enough or rockstar enough for Andrew Jackson. Cavenaugh should (and probably will) stick with Superman—a role perfectly suited to his muscles and his big, straight-toothed, clenched-jaw smile—and stay far away from our emocore Seventh President.