Everything you need to know about 'Jagged Little Pill' on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre
Here's all you need to know about the Alanis Morissette musical on Broadway.
Released in June 1995, “Jagged Little Pill” made a household name of Alanis Morissette, earning her the title of the best-selling international debut artist in history. Now, over two decades later, that same album is the inspiration for a new Broadway musical and we’ve fallen “Head Over Feet” for it. Following a record-breaking, out-of-town try-out at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the summer of 2018, Jagged Little Pill began previews at the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway on November 3, 2019, ahead of an official opening on December 5.
Jagged Little Pill is a raw, edgy, topical, and by no means difficult to swallow. Find out more about Jagged Little Pill on Broadway.
What’s the story of Jagged Little Pill?
Jagged Little Pill is not a bio-musical about Alanis Morissette. It tells the original story of The Healys; a family in crisis. Set in Connecticut, we meet Mary Jane (aka MJ), her husband Steve, her star pupil son Nick (who has just been accepted to Harvard), and her adopted black daughter Frankie. The picture-perfect family, however, might not be as squeaky-clean as it seems and soon the cracks begin to show.
As MJ’s addiction to pain killer medication spins out of control and her estranged relationship to ‘workaholic’ Steve deteriorates even further, Frankie has to deal with her own racial identity crisis (as well as a tricky love triangle between her best friend/lesbian lover Jo and new boy at the school, Phoenix) and Nick witnesses the rape of his schoolmate Bella, failing to intervene and sending him cascading into a world of guilt. As The Healys begin to accept that life doesn’t always have to be perfect, they must look to each other to heal the wounds that threaten to tear them all apart.
Who was in the original cast of Jagged Little Pill on Broadway?
Almost the entire principal cast of Jagged Little Pill has been together since the 2017 workshop of the musical; they all originated their respective roles at the American Repertory Theater in 2018. Elizabeth Stanley originated the role of Mary Jane Healy, with Derek Klena as Nick and Celia Rose Gooding as Frankie. Sean Allan Krill played Steve, with Kathryn Gallagher as Bella, Lauren Patten as Jo and Antonio Cipriano as Phoenix.
Why should I see Jagged Little Pill on Broadway?
In a five-star review of Jagged Little Pill for New York Theatre Guide, "this story is not that of one generational thread. It is a visceral woven tapestry of the kids we made... the artistry of Morissette is magnified."
Jagged Little Pill triumphs as a true ensemble piece, showcasing its entire company of gifted performers. There is also a hint of nostalgia in the Broadhurst Theatre. Many of us were deeply impacted by the “Jagged Little Pill” album back in the 1990s and one gets the sense that many audience members bring their own memories and associations with Morissette’s work into the theatre with them. The emotional reaction to certain musical numbers is palpable.
It's not just the "Jagged Little Pill" album tracks that have made the cut – other Alanis songs such as “Hands Clean,” “That I Would Be Good,” “Uninvited,” and “Thank U” also play major roles in the musical.
Director Diane Paulus and choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui have staged Jagged Little Pill ingeniously, transforming the production into a living, breathing organism. The interpretive dance sequences during the gut-wrenching addiction or rape scenes are particularly poignant. There's also excellent moments from the female company members, presenting tough topics in an engaging manner.
Who would we recommend Jagged Little Pill to?
Jagged Little Pill has multi-generational appeal thanks to the multitude of topical issues it explores. Each audience member is likely to relate to at least one of the characters on stage, whether a parent figure or teenager. Due to the production’s adult content, we’d give an age recommendation of 16+. It also goes without saying that Morissette aficionados themselves are likely to be crying “Thank U” for years to come.
When is Jagged Little Pill reopening on Broadway?
Jagged Little Pill is reopening at the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway from Oct. 21, 2021. Since the pandemic began, Jagged Little Pill is now a Grammy Award-winning musical, winning best musical theatre album in 2021. Find out more about Jagged Little Pill on Broadway here.
(Photos by Matthew Murphy)