FRIENDS. I CANNOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT THAT IS THE NEW MUSICAL “JAGGED LITTLE PILL” BY ALANIS MORISSETTE.
If you’ve been paying any attention to the Broadway theatre scene, you’ll have noticed that it’s become increasingly more inclusive and not just stories of cis straight white men not facing consequences (yes I’m bitter about Dear Evan Hansen, don’t @ me). From Head Over Heels to Fun Home, and Paula Vogel’s amazing production of Indecent to The Prom, we’ve seen more wlw representation on Broadway that wasn’t just the butt of the joke.
What I’m super excited about though, is the inclusion of an explicitly non-binary character in Jagged Little Pill, played by Lauren Patten. While Lauren identifies as a cis woman, she did her duty in researching and striving to accurately portray the character of Jo (including working with Ezra Menas, who uses they/them and he/him pronouns, and was the understudy of the role) during the show’s run in Boston. I was truly amazed to see a representation of someone like me onstage. Seeing a non-binary actor’s involvement in the creation and development of a non-binary character in the commercial theatre realm, in my opinion, gave Jo that much more honesty and authenticity that nearly burst my little enby heart. And, spoiler alert, they don’t die at the end!
While it would not be true Alanis fashion to only focus on one storyline, this show is packed chock full of issues, including rape culture, opioid addiction, white savior complex, and definitions of queer relationships. It was a hot mess, but a fun and amazing hot mess when it was up at the American Repertory Theater. According to the New York Times, Eva Price, a lead producer on the project, confirmed that they are reworking parts of the plot of JLP to accurately reflect the shifting landscape of the world today. I can only hope that the attention to Jo and their storyline is not reduced or cut.
Currently on Spotify is a playlist of the songs that were in the musical, minus the two new songs that were written explicitly for the musical. Jukebox musicals may be tired and on their way out, but You Oughta Know that this one will definitely be one for your own messy journal entry of angst, warmth, and a channeling of Alanis Morissette’s specifically Fuck-You spirit.