Stephen F. Austin State University

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Musical, art exhibition have political themes

October 4, 2016 - Robbie Goodrich
Register to vote during run of 'Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson'

NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Those who are not registered to vote in the Nov. 8 general election may do so when they attend the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre's production of the emo rock musical "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson."

The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 4 through 8, in W.M. Turner Auditorium in the Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus. Student-conducted voter registration will take place in the Griffith lobby prior to and following each nightly performance, according to Angela Bacarisse, professor of theatre at SFA and the show's director and choreographer.

The show, with music and lyrics by Michael Friedman and a book by Alex Timbers, takes a comedic look at the founding of the Democratic Party and portrays Andrew Jackson, America's seventh president, as an emo rock star. Because of the political theme of the musical, Bacarisse thought having a voter registration drive during the event was a logical addition to the show's atmosphere.

"The production itself is about the political process," Bacarisse said. "I was trying to think of a lobby display that would engage students, and then realized we had the ability to set up a registration table because some of our theatre students have taken the initiative to be part of the electoral process."

The voter registration initiative is designed to promote civic responsibility among students, Bacarisse said.

"Many will not vote because it is too hard to go home that day, or they will forget, or get too busy," she said. "This will make it easy for them to vote where they are."

Two theatre majors who have been trained and certified to register voters will man the table. Both have been active in politics on the local and state level, and one attended one of the national conventions this past summer. The voter registration table will not display any specific party information or affiliation.

"We chose this musical in part to coincide with the height of the political season, and it is completely appropriate that we do everything we can to increase opportunities for as many people as possible to participate in the electoral process," said Dr. Richard Jones, interim director of the School of Theatre. "Whereas this campaign is aimed specifically at university students, we hope to attract older adults, as well. I'm grateful to, and proud of, the students who will be working at the registration table; their passion, their optimism, and their pragmatism are all good signs for the future."

Additionally, the "State of the Union" exhibition, curated by SFA art students, is showing Oct. 4 through Nov. 5 in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches. The exhibition focuses on social and political themes, including political campaigns, environmental concerns, education, immigration, human rights, trade, globalization and other contemporary concerns, according to Lauren Selden, associate professor of art and whose students participated in curating the exhibition. The show includes the work of artists from across the U.S. and Mexico. An opening reception is from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at The Cole Art Center.

Single tickets to "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" are $15 for adult, $10 for senior and $7.50 for student/youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.theatre.sfasu.edu. The show is recommended for mature audiences. A content advisory may be viewed at www.theatre.sfasu.edu.

Admission to the art exhibition, which is sponsored in part by the Friends of the Visual Arts and Nacogdoches Junior Forum, is free. Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. Gallery hours are 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.