‘Jagged Little Pill’ offers intense, impressive experience

Written By Steph Weiland, Staff Writer

This past Thursday, I went to the Benedum with a friend and saw Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill”. The musical has been playing at the Benedum since Tuesday January 24th and will continue to be shown at the Benedum until this Sunday, January 29th. About seven minutes into Jagged Little Pill it had been paused due to technical difficulties.

Around ten minutes later the musical had then resumed. “Jagged Little Pill”, had first been performed on May 5, 2018 the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge,Massachusetts. Jagged Little Pill has been nominated for the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Broadway Production.

In the past some cast members have left the musical, due to the producers’ mistreatment of non-binary and trans folk in the cast, production process, and behind the scenes. The Actor’s Equity Association was set to look into this, conducting a “thorough, independent investigation of ‘Jagged Little Pill,’” first reported by Deadline.

Alanis Morissette had said she was open to a musical referencing her album, but did not want to have a “jukebox musical,” which is what “Jagged Little Pill” had eventually become in the end. Jagged Little Pill is written by Diablo Cody who also wrote “Juno” starring Michael Cera and Elliot Page, back in 2005, then the movie was produced in 2007. In December of 2019, the musical Jagged Little Pill premiered on Broadway. Back in September of 2021, Jagged Little Pill had won two Tony Awards.

Even though the songs written by Morissette are about her and some of her life experiences, she did not necessarily want the musical to be about her. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Cody had said, “Her only request was that it not be about her.”

Overall, I thought the musical was okay; I’m typically not one for musicals. I will admit I did thoroughly appreciate the musicians playing in the background. The actors and actresses also sang pretty well. It was quite overstimulating at times and a broad range of controversial topics had been covered. Though some of the jokes told throughout landed pretty well with much of the audience, myself included.

It has been noted by several sources that “Jagged Little Pill” is rated for people ages 14 and up. Personally, I think the ages for viewing should be increased to 16 at the very least if this play involves substance abuse among other intense topics and scenes. “Jagged Little Pill”, discussed some deep and emotional themes that may be considered difficult for some to hear. “Jagged Little Pill” also tends to have bright flashing lights and might be sensitive for some viewers.

The musical is named after Morissette’s 1995 album, “Jagged Little Pill” which she had been nominated for nine Grammy Awards with this album and had won five of those total nominations. Morissette has sold over 30 million copies worldwide of Jagged Little Pill.

One of the main characters of the play, Mary Jane Healy, does not struggle with a marijuana addiction, but instead a Oxycodone addiction. She had previously been in a car accident before and had been taking Oxycodone to help her deal with her back pain. She then became codependent of Oxycodone, soon after her pharmacy would no longer prescribe it to her. Mary Jane then had to become creative and decided to take an alternative route, she had asked a young kid on the street for it behind the bakery. Little did she take into consideration that the Oxycodone she was getting off the street could have been laced with deadlier drugs.

Mary Jane’s son, Nicholas “Nick” Healy had gotten accepted to Harvard. From the looks of it, Mary Jane had written his application for Harvard. Nick was a fairly popular kid at school and his friends were excited when he had gotten into Harvard. On the weekend, after collecting his acceptance letter, Nick had attended a party to celebrate. Nick had gotten drunk with a friend and his friend, Andrew who had violated a girl at the party, Bella and raped her while she was under the influence without her consent. Nick did not bother to stop this or speak up, later on his sister Frankie spoke up on behalf of Bella.

Mary Jane and her husband, Steve Healy’s marriage had been failing. Frankie then left home and traveled to New York City by herself. Frankie eventually came back. Her parents’ marriage was still going through it.

There are lots of twists and turns in this story, so make sure you hold on.