With youthful exuberance, exciting choreography, Alanis Morissette songs plus a book that includes themes of contemporary life-drug problems, gender and racial issues, marital troubles,
JAGGED LITTLE PILL
is a show about angst in many forms.
And yet it all sums up to an entertaining and enlightening theatrical experience.
Centered around a "perfect" upscale Connecticut family, things gradually spiral out of control to places not unfamiliar to the multi-generational audience who responded enthusiastically.
Soaring music reflects the pain and emotional trauma the characters are going through-never distracting or, as musicals sometimes do, instead emphasizing what the engaging book by Diablo Cody is revealing.
The many "set" changes use technology to inform location and, while illuminating, do not detract (distract) from the show's progression or musical highlights.
The Chorus ensemble are well-used throughout the show from their high energy dance numbers to being background as the play progresses.
While Heidi Blickenstaff is a standout as Mary Jane Healy, husband Steve (Chris Hoch) and Frankie (Lauren Chanel) their adopted daughter are seamless as the central characters whose complex issues evolve as the show moves towards resolution. Each has their moment and provides the vortex around which the show revolves. Kudos to two other characters that add much to the plot. Tomboy Bella (Allison Sheppard) and gender-fluid Jo (Jade McLeod) rock out with Predator and You Oughta Know numbers. Brother Nick Healy (Dillon Klena) and Frankie's love interest Andrew (Jason Goldston) have their moments as well.
Based on Morrisett's groundbreaking 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill, had troubles of its own. Opening, then closing on Broadway due to the pandemic and reopening controversy, nothing has suffered in this production. The show may be unfamiliar, but the music, excellent cast and production rate a "must see" from this reviewer.
Of particular note, in the fall of 2020, the musical garnered a season-leading 15 Tony Nominations - including Best Musical and the show's Grammy Award win in 2021 for Best Musical Theatre Album, JAGGED LITTLE PILL also won Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical (Diablo Cody) and Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Lauren Patten).
This production is directed by Diane Paulus and choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, JAGGED LITTLE PILL runs through October 2nd at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre.