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If Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is right, America’s seventh president was an awfully emo guy. This Studio 2ndStage production, which opens on July 11, puts an irreverent musical spin on Jackson’s tumultuous life, with a sharp focus on how his cowboy years shaped him into the leader of the country’s first populist movement. According to co-director Chris Gallu, contemporary American populism, specifically the Occupy movement and the Tea Party, inspired the show. “Jackson was one of the first American populists—a man who figured out how to connect to the ‘common man’ in a way that elevated him to the presidency—a skill that has become a ‘must have’ for politicians in today’s world of media and celebrity,” says Gallu via email. Of course, those are the sorts of things anybody can learn from CNN and a textbook. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is a fascinating history lesson about a problematic man, but more important, it’s a Tony-nominated rock musical. That sounds a lot more fun than the AP U.S. History test you bombed junior year.

The show runs July 11 to Aug. 5 at Studio2nd Stage, 1501 14th St. NW. $40-$45. studiotheatre.org. (202) 332-3300.