Nathan JohnsonTonight, the musical Jagged Little Pill, based on Alanis Morissette‘s seminal 1995 album, opens on Broadway. Tony winner Diane Paulus, who directed Sara Bareilles‘ hit musical, Waitress, is Jagged Little Pill‘s director too. She explains why fans of the album will love the musical.
“I think if you loved this album as a teenager, you’re going to have a chance to live that again,” she tells ABC Audio. “You’re also going to have a chance to look back at life because if you were a teenager in the 90s…you might have moved on to other aspects of your life — relationships, parenthood, kids — like Alanis has. And this show has kind of expanded to contain all of that.”
Jagged Little Pill uses the album’s songs to tell the story of The Healys, a seemingly perfect suburban family that’s actually struggling with many of of today’s hot-button issues, from addiction to racial identity. One critic even called it “the most woke musical of all time.” But Oscar-winner Diablo Cody, who wrote the show, says that wasn’t intentional.
“We did not deliberately set out to make a musical that had 25 issues in it,” she laughs. “But I think it happened because everybody involved in this production is very sensitive and sort of attuned to the world around us. And in a moment like this, you can’t not sense a certain kind of urgency. It’s just like, the world is full of issues. So why can’t our show be?”
In addition to the songs from Jagged Little Pill, the musical also includes Alanis tracks like “Thank U” and “Uninvited,” as well as “Smiling,” a song Alanis wrote but never released but that perfectly — “almost eerily,” says Cody — fits into the show. The soundtrack’s available now.
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