'Jagged Little Pill' brings the music of Alanis Morissette to life
A new musical based on the hit album makes its world premiere at the American Repertory Theater this weekend.
Alanis Morissette joined the pantheon of international music superstars when her breakout album "Jagged Little Pill" debuted in 1995.
Offering a voice to a generation of angsty teens, the alt-rock record was an immediate success, selling more than 30 million copies and earning a spot on the list of all-time best-selling albums. Morissette won four Grammy Awards for "Jagged Little Pill," including Album of the Year, which made the Canadian singer the youngest person to ever take home the honor until Taylor Swift came along with 2008's "Fearless."
Morissette's iconic record will soon take on a new form, as an all-star team of theater pros are bringing "Jagged Little Pill" to life in a stage production based on the hit album. The show will make its world premiere at the American Repertory Theater's Loeb Drama Center on Saturday, May 5, and will run through July 15.
Helmed by A.R.T. artistic director Diane Paulus, the project features a world class crew behind the scenes, including Academy Award-winning writer Diablo Cody, who wrote the book for "Jagged Little Pill," as well as music supervisor, arranger and orchestrator Tom Kitt, who earned a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for his work on "Next to Normal." Kitt, who also serves as a music arranger on the NBC drama "Rise," tells Metro that Morissette's album left an "enormous impact" on the world of music and was a perfect fit for a theater adaptation.
"The reason why, for me, this felt like a natural theatrical endeavor, was because I hear characters in those songs," Kitt says. "They already feel so theatrical to me, so the fact this album already comes to this process with songs that have story and character and real drama to them, I think is such a wonderful and important thing."
While the production is based on Morissette's work, it isn't a biography of the acclaimed artist. "Jagged Little Pill" will feature an original, fictional plot with characters played by Elizabeth Stanley, Sean Allan Krill and a host of other performers.
Like a blockbuster Marvel movie, the bulk of the story for "Jagged Little Pill" is being kept under wraps. Kitt notes, though, that it will feel relatable, poignant and probing and will "bring to the table many issues that we’re facing today," such as themes of connection in our social media obsessed world.
Fans can expect to hear every song from Morissette's 1995 album and a few other tunes from her catalogue, as well as possibly a few new pieces created especially for the show.
"She’s been incredibly supportive to all of us," Kitt says. "You can see how much this means to her. She’s offered such great, new thoughts that we’ve incorporated and, in our minds, have made the show even stronger."
If you go:
May 5-July 15, Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge, $25+, americanrepertorytheater.org