Musical Theater Review “Jagged Little Pill”


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You should know that I was already a big fan of Alanis Morissette’s catalog, but honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve loved his music since 1996, when I was too young to be able to understand any of his lyrics on a relatable level. How can you perfectly combine Mrs. Morissette’s lyrical grief and hope into one cohesive story? Well, they did. Diablo Cody has woven the incredible work of Alanis Morissette into a relatable story for many people.

Jagged Little Pill the Musical, currently playing at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, tells the story of an average American family who face life challenges that are more common than many are comfortable admitting. : strive for a “perfect” image on social networks. costs, substance abuse, racism, bisexuality and sexual violence.

little shredded pill

Mary Jane Healy (Heidi Blickenstaff) is, at first glance, the clichéd mom of American television. MJ is somewhat conservative, meets her friends for Soul Cycle and sends a Christmas letter to the family every year highlighting everyone’s accomplishments. Her husband Steve has an amazing job where he may spend too much time but can support them, and they have a biological white son, Nick (Dillon Klena), and an adopted black daughter, Frankie (Lauren Chanel).

While the social media image is incredible, what’s behind it is Mary Jane’s struggle with painkiller addiction after a car accident and unresolved personal trauma. Frankie is not only black in a white suburban family, but also queer and trying to juggle her challenges with her mother who continues to see Frankie’s non-binary love interest, Jo (Jade McLeod), as one of his platonic “girlfriends” and “don’t see the color”.

Little shredded pill

Nick got into an excellent university much to his family’s delight, but it was more his mother’s dream school than his own. Things in their family start falling apart as MJ’s addiction becomes harder and harder to hide and Nick sees his classmate Bella being sexually assaulted at her first high school party and doesn’t have the tools. emotional or life skills to stop it in the moment. Frankie, who was also at the party, finds Bella a cause worth fighting for. MJ’s conflict avoidance in favor of the perfect picture clashes with Frankie’s strong values ​​and willingness to stand up for what she believes in through protest.

Heidi Blickenstaff (Mary Jane) is an absolute legend. MJ’s internal struggles are demonstrated right from the start of his performance of “Smile” which was a hauntingly beautiful performance. “Forgiven” was visually and vocally incredible, but Uninvited was the scariest number Blickenstaff had performed. His vocal performances were both strong and vulnerable, truly embodying who MJ is. Dillon Klena’s performance of “Perfect” was heartbreaking.

Her character’s pain under the pressure of her parents was really felt. Lauren Chanel (Frankie Healy) has a fantastic singing voice and great comedic timing. But the real star for me, and I think everyone in the audience, was Jade McLeod (Jo). Their performance of “You Oughta Know” was so intense and raw that they received a standing ovation mid-show. Through every song they had, McLeod stood out as a passionate performer.

The sets, direction and choreography for this show were stunning and unlike anything I have ever seen. The set is minimal, consisting of a few neon lights, three moving video screens, and a few practical sets like chairs and benches, as well as multiple protest signs used throughout the show for causes like Black Lives Matter, women’s rights, etc. The chorus danced a lot in the background of the scenes, but two main dancers seemed to be concentrating as if to represent MJ’s addiction hovering above her.

Little shredded pill

It came to a head in one of the most interesting parts I’ve ever seen in a musical, “Uninvited.” The lyrics were rewritten to make sense of the story, and the combination of Blickenstaff’s warm vocal performance and choreography was breathtaking. The issue depicts MJ physically battling with an alternate version of herself, which ultimately depicts an opioid overdose. Between the constant rock rhythm of the song and the intensity of the choreography, this moment left me speechless.

The group was installed on stage, above the musicians on a riser. The lighting was designed in such a way that they could not always be seen, and they could be highlighted when the music rose crescendo. Bandleader Matt Doebler did an incredible job of keeping the beat going and accompanying the passionate voices of the performers who seemed to favor passion over the ideal cadence, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

Little shredded pill

Overall, this show is a message about a changing world, empathy, and the ability to stand up for yourself and others. For some, the subject matter and opinions of this musical may be a little overwhelming, but it’s truly an honest and raw look at the struggles many people face every day. It was beautiful, heartbreaking and dark, but also full of hope that people could grow and learn, no matter their age or education. Thanks to Alanis Morissette, Glen Ballard and Diablo Cody for bringing this experience to all of us, I believe we are all the better for it.

The Los Angeles premiere of the Tony- and Grammy-winning musical Jagged Little Pill at the Hollywood Pantages Theater runs through October 2, 2022. Tickets are available at

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