ARTS | The project is set to debut in May 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
An all-star team of theater creatives are attached to bring Morissette's work to the stage, but will the album work as a musical?
Here's a piece of news that you oughta know, Alanis Morissette is about to make her debut in the world of theater. The project responsible for this is a musical adaptation of her acclaimed 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill, which was just announced to debut at the American Repertory Theater in May 2018. Among the team that has been assembled for the project is Tony Award winning Director Diane Paulus at the helm, Oscar winning screenwriter Diablo Cody handling the script, and the Pulitzer and Tony-winning composer Tom Kitt who will orchestrate the new production.
Now for those of you less experienced to the theater world may be wondering what exactly this all means? Well, as of right now the show doesn't have any Broadway plans set, though that could all change quickly after it debuts at American Repertory Theater (or ART as its often known). While ART's Cambridge, Massachusetts home may be quite a ways off from New York's theater district, it has developed a reputation as one of the preeminent homes for world premiere productions aiming to eventually hit the Great White Way. Among the shows that have appeared at ART in recent years are Finding Neverland, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, All The Way, and Waitress. So while the musical may not have an announced Broadway home yet, if it's notices are positive in Cambridge, we should all expect it to arrive in New York during the 2018-2019 theater season.
But this all does raise the question, should we be optimistic about the show's quality? There certainly is reason to get excited, especially with the creative team they've assembled for the project. Paulus, who also happens to be ART's artistic director, has personally directed some of the company's biggest shows including Finding Neverland and the recent revival of Pippin. She additionally has found success shepherding a noted female recording artist's work to the stage after working with Sara Bareilles on Waitress. Kitt similarly helped bring Green Day's American Idiot to the stage, serving as that shows orchestrator to help adapt its sound to work for story.
Still, while the names are impressive, having talent attached is no guarantee. For every Jersey Boys or The Who's Tommy, there are shows like The Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots or Sheryl Crow's Diner that failed to translate an artist's sound effectively to theater and are unlikely to arrive on Broadway. Additionally since the show's book (or script) will prove crucial to ensuring the show connects all of Morissette's music in a satisfying way, having a writer inexperienced in theater like Cody handle these duties carries high risk-high reward potential. Luckily the production will have a year to develop creatively and tackle these type of questions as it heads towards its debut. And considering Jagged Little Pill's position as a show written and directed entirely by women in a field still far too crowded by male creative voices, we'll be rooting it on as it brings a taste of grunge to Broadway.
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