What You Oughta Know About Jagged Little Pill

Teralin Jones and the Company of the North American Tour of JAGGED LITTLE PILL.

By Evan Fitzpatrick 

Student blogger Evan Fitzpatrick reflects on the music of Alanis Morissette and its rebirth in Jagged Little Pill, playing April 5-7 at The Hanover Theatre & Conservatory for the Performing Arts.

Jagged Little Pill
Teralin Jones and the Company of the North American Tour of JAGGED LITTLE PILL Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade 2023

More than 25 years ago, Canadian singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette served audiences a new take on female rage sharing her own emotional journey through music. Her album, “Jagged Little Pill,” became a soundtrack for struggle. Many songs rose to anthemic proportions and remain there today.  

In the Broadway hit Jagged Little Pill, Diablo Cody, who was also the screenwriter of the Oscar-winning film “Juno”, adapts Morissette’s strife to the stage layering the music with the story of one family riddled with issues whose teenagers are saddled by angst. Morissette’s hits are transformed into the music of the Healys, an upper middle-class family whose trauma takes up the whole stage. Actress Julie Reiber plays the mother in this dysfunctional family and recently shared her experience on the national tour with Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s, Richard Duckett. Read the full interview here.

When I listen to Morissette’s music, I hear heartbreak and scorn. Audiences should be prepared to face a litany of social issues including, but not limited to, race, gender identity, misogyny, phobias about the LGBTQIA+ community and addiction. That’s a tall order of trauma for any Broadway musical, or any genre of show. It would be a lot for the Bard himself to tackle in the modern age. Jagged Little Pill tackles these issues fearlessly, unapologetically giving them a voice. I would say that the audience should expect the issues themselves to become like additional characters in the show.  

In the theater, one spark can light a fire. Spotlighting social issues like Rent did back in 1996 can fuel a movement. The show, Jagged Little Pill, sparks all the issues and the burn is even, but alight in every corner of society and the stage. Audiences may be struck hard by all of the issues, or just be singularly moved by one. Either way, the fire of social change is alive in this show.  

Parents, grab your teenagers and go see Jagged Little Pill at The Hanover Theatre on the final weekend of the entire tour, April 5-7.