Luke Weber is a BFA musical theatre student who is cast as Andrew Jackson in the upcoming production of "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson."
Shane Strawbridge: What brought you to Texas Tech?
Luke Weber: I made the decision to go to college for musical theatre right before my senior year of high school. A lot of the top theatre programs are audition-based, so I spent a majority of my senior year stressing over college auditions. I had a few really good places to choose from, but ultimately, Tech felt like the best place for me to grow into the person that I want to become.
SS: What first drew you to Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson?
LW: I discovered this show a few years ago when Casa Mañana, a regional theatre in Fort Worth, was holding auditions for their Apprentice Program. I listened to some of the music and I read a brief synopsis. I thought the show was absolutely ridiculous, but I still thought it would be fun to audition for it. I remember singing through one of Jackson's songs in a voice lesson, and I could not connect to it at all. I simply didn't understand the character, the show, why it existed or why people even thought it was good. I could barely even sing the song back then without straining my voice. In short, Andrew Jackson was a role I knew I would never play.
Fortunately, I have received really great training at Texas Tech. This role has helped me step out of my comfort zone. Eventually, I read the script, and then everything suddenly clicked. Any confusion or misunderstanding I had about the text finally started to make sense. Playing this role has helped me realize that I am capable of much more than I think. I am doing things as an actor/singer that I never thought I would be able to achieve.
SS: What has been the most challenging aspect of the rehearsal process for you?
LW: Besides the physical and mental exhaustion, figuring out the truth behind this character has been the most challenging and the most interesting. Most people only know Jackson from the twenty-dollar bill, and I think that's a shame. There's a lot of good he did for our country, and there's also a lot of bad. But of course, Andrew Jackson is never going to admit that he did wrong. He is very charming and very manipulative. He knows what he wants, and he knows that he's going to get it one way or another. He's unlike any character I've ever played, and it's been a lot of fun discovering more about him each day. There is so much to think about when playing him. There are several different approaches that can be taken, and that's what makes Jackson so interesting to me.
SS: Why should audiences see this show?
LW: Believe it or not, BBAJ isn't politically correct. You'll figure that out in the first five minutes. However, you may start to make connections and see the similarities between this show and events happening in our country right now. I will say that this isn't the best show to bring the whole family for a valuable lesson on our nation's history. This show is completely unrestricted. There is a lot of raunchy humor and provocative behavior, but if you're into that kind of stuff, you'll probably really enjoy it. Some audience members may find the show outrageous, and honestly, that's a reaction that I am excited to see. This show is wildly entertaining, but it will surprise a lot of people.
SS: If you could trade places with anyone in the cast/crew, whose job would you steal and why?
LW: My job's pretty cool, but I'd go with (Sound Designer) Darin Moody's. He gets to create the greatest pre-show playlist of all time.
SS: Any final words, Mr. President?
LW: I'm really excited for people to experience this show. It is a roller coaster. You know, one of those roller coasters you're kind of nervous/excited to go on, and then as soon as you start moving upwards you start to feel sick, but then you leave wanting to ride it again. I guess that summarizes it.