The adventurous Mad Horse Theatre Company has opened its 32nd season with a high-energy production of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” a 2010 Broadway musical that offers a rich mix of history and satire.

The show tells the story of Andrew Jackson, a complex and controversial figure who became the seventh president of the United States in 1828. Set to pop/emo/punk rock music, the show broadly explores a seminal period in American politics, delivering some tough messages in a very entertaining way.

The Michael Friedman/Alex Timbers show follows Jackson from his humble origins to his final years. Through song, dialogue and narration, his populism is shown to gain favor in a period when Native Americans (who suffered greatly under him), foreigners and the Washington establishment became too easily defined as the enemies of the people. Haunted by personal demons and family crises, Jackson is revealed as a man of the moment who ultimately couldn’t meet the high expectations he instilled in his supporters.

Ryan Walker as Andrew Jackson with the band in the background.

Ryan Walker plays Jackson as a swaggering egotist who somehow finds his finger on the racing pulse of an angry populace. He’s a “Rock Star,” as one blowout number tells it.

Walker generates the charisma required of his role and balances Jackson’s pained view of his destiny with touches of sensitivity rooted in his personal life. His singing and acting command attention as he becomes the man at the center of a whirlwind of historical events, a character to be both drawn to and repulsed by, giving an edge to his strong performance.

Front left to right, in circle, Megan Tripaldi (ensemble), Ryan Walker (Andrew Jackson), Mark Rubin (ensemble), Amanda Eaton (ensemble), Allison McCall (Rachel Jackson), Meredythe Dehne Lindsey.

A particularly bloody edge is also established through Jackson’s relationship with his wife, Rachel. Allison McCall adds the requisite kink to her passion for the man during “Illness as Metaphor” and brings their public/private dilemma into focus as she steps to the mic to belt out “The Great Compromise.”

Director Stacey Koloski, cast and crew have taken advantage of the company’s intimate, three-quarter-in-the-round performance space in South Portland to put together a production that sustains a feverish intensity. Cast members, both Mad Horse regulars and guest performers, come and go in costumes that loosely parody the Jacksonian period. The players all get to sing, act and dance in a mix of recent popular styles.

Amanda Eaton, Adam Ferguson, Meredythe Dehne Lindsey, Michael Shawn Lynch, Mark Rubin, Megan Tripaldi and Dominic Wolfgang Wallace shine in multiple roles while Christine Louise Marshall, as a diehard narrator, and Darby DeFilippis, as Jackson’s adopted Native American son, share scene-stealing honors.

With bright lights flashing all around, the three-piece onstage band, comprising drummer Brendan Daly, bassist Shannon Oliver and guitarist/vocalist/music director Mike O’Neal, is so good in supporting the action that a few moments of recorded music seem out of place in this top-notch show.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.