Jagged Little Pill (it feels so good)

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 26, 2024, 5:30 PM | comments: 0

I can get pretty obsessed with any music, and listen to it a lot. I don't know if that's an autism thing or not, but Simon does it too, though I assume it might be a teenager thing. Regardless, it seems like there's at least one musical per year that I get really hooked on. I didn't expect that this year it might be Jagged Little Pill, but here we are.

Most jukebox shows are, at best, serviceable as a few hours of light entertainment, and I don't look forward to most of them. Beautiful was better than most. TinaAin't Too Proud and others I've already forgotten were terrible to meh. So I imagine that there are one of two things happening here. Either, one, my Gen-X'er nostalgia for Alanis Morissette and the era of alt-rock that wasn't confined to a box is very strong and blinds me to what might be shitty, or, two, they generally did a great job of putting these songs into the context of an interesting story. I want to believe it's the latter, but I can't see over my own bias.

We first saw it on Wednesday, on our usual subscription day in the usual seats. By intermission, I already knew it was a winner. In fact, we stayed after for the cast chat-back, something we haven't done since Come From Away came through many years ago. The cast is very strong (and very young, aside from the actors playing the parents). The adjustments made to the songs make them seem like they always belonged there, as if they were written contextually for the show. And surprisingly, the charmingly weird phrasing and word usage of Alanis doesn't sound weird when other people sing it. Heck, with the chorus harmonies and what not, it might even be better.

There are a few different plot lines centered around several characters, the biggest of which is the "Mary Jane," the mother, and her addiction. They hit plenty of other light hearted topics like racial and sexual identity, rape and over-work. Despite the gravity of the subject matter, it's all tied together pretty well with a satisfying ending.

At first glance, the choreography seems a little spastic, maybe too modern, but it balances out pretty quickly. In fact, it works out to a brilliant staging of "Uninvited," which was already one of my favorite songs (favorite ever, I mean). It's used to show the push and pull against addiction at the lowest point, and it's really effective. The minor lyric changes make it seem like it was always about addiction, even though it was originally for the City of Angels soundtrack. It's so good.

I liked it so much I went back for the Sunday matinee. Diana was working it, so I was solo, but it was totally worth it. Unfortunately, the tour is almost over, so it's hard to say when or if there will be more opportunities to see it.


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