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  • Megan Kudla

Alanis Morissette’s Best Selling Album Tours Chicago With Hit Musical JAGGED LITTLE PILL


Heidi Blickenstaff, Allison Sheppard and Jena VanElslander in the North American Tour of JAGGED LITTLE PILL. Photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade, 2022, featured in Round Trip with Colleen Kelly Article Alanis Morissette’s Best Selling Album Tours Chicago With Hit Musical JAGGED LITTLE PILL
Photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade, 2022


The 1995 Alanis Morissette album Jagged Little Pill was a record-breaking milestone for the Canadian-American singer-songwriter, making her, still today, the best selling international female debut artist. We’ve seen a trend of Broadway stage adaptations of the stories of famed artists (Jersey Boys, On Your Feet!, The Tina Turner Musical, etc.), but this particular Tony and Grammy Award Winning musical of the same name as the hit album takes on the Mamma Mia-esque challenge of arranging a new narrative around a well-known and beloved soundtrack.


The flavor of the musical Jagged Little Pill, directed by Diane Paulus of Waitress and Pippin, aligns with the contemporary feel that American Idiot or Next to Normal brings–and for a couple reasons. Perhaps an example of the most direct relation is the orchestration and arrangement by Tom Kitt, of both aforementioned musicals. However, it is mainly the way the story is presented as a whole that unveils a similar realistic, bombastic, edgy feel–with the obvious and most influential aspect being the rock-based Alanis Morisette music.


Jade McLeod and the North American Touring Company of JAGGED LITTLE PILL. Photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade, 2022 , featured in Round Trip with Colleen Kelly article Alanis Morissette’s Best Selling Album Tours Chicago With Hit Musical Jagged Little Pill
Photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade, 2022

The story follows an American family trying to sustain an image of perfection in the face of real-life conflict and struggle. We witness the individual journeys of each character as they wrestle with unique and oppressive hardships ranging from substance abuse to rape to heartbreak to social injustice. The choreography acts as a framework of time and place, just as the projections and set design do: not only stretching, shrinking, and rewinding time but also projecting entire emotional landscapes from scene to scene.


One of my favorite aspects of this production was the showcasing of a large cast–each character had an important role that was interwoven into the plot, providing each cast member the chance to really shine on stage. It was a pleasure to witness Broadway’s original Heidi Blickenstaff as “Mary Jane Healy,” as well as other powerhouse vocalists and performers like Jade McLeod as “Jo,” who sings one of the most iconic songs “You Oughta Know.”


Although this particular musical deals with intense topics, the script adeptly delivers hard truths with both gravity and humor, granting the audience a chance to learn and contemplate–while also relating and laughing at the “perfectly imperfect” way of living that makes us all human.



This show is now playing at the James M. Nederlander Theatre in Chicago until April 23, 2023.


More information on broadwayinchicago.com.


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