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Jagged Little Pill (Boston)

From 10 critic and 3 member reviews
Members say: Resonant, Absorbing, Relevant, Edgy, Inventive choreography

About the show

Inspired by the themes and emotions laid bare in Alanis Morissette’s Grammy Award-winning album, this new musical tells an original story about pain, healing, and empowerment. More…

The Healys appear to be a picture-perfect suburban family—but looks can be deceiving. When the Healys’ lives are disrupted by a series of disturbing events, they must choose between maintaining the status quo or facing harsh truths about themselves, their community, and the world around them.

Including iconic songs “Ironic,” “You Oughta Know,” and “Hand In My Pocket,” 'Jagged Little Pill' incorporates selections from Morissette’s catalogue and new material written for this world-premiere musical directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus ('Waitress,' 'Pippin') and featuring a book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody ('Juno').

The Sun

“Every musical taboo is shattered over the emotionally gripping two-and-a-half-hour production...There’s lesbian kissing, teenage sex, swearing galore and even rape...Don’t think for a second this is a musical without levity or belly laughs, however...The staging is spectacular...And, of course, Alanis’ music stands the test of time, with the lyrics translated with perfection to the story being told...This musical is perfectly perfect.” Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Raw and explosive...yet poignant and triumphant...While there are moments when the activity and the number of bodies onstage feels like over-stimulation, the overall effectiveness of the production is boosted by the kinetic nature of the storytelling...Paulus' direction is masterful, drawing stunning performances...and crafting a seamless production that, with a little cutting, is almost ready for prime time. She proves that Morissette's album is stage-worthy and relevant.” Full Review

Boston Globe

“This musical has Paulus’s steady hand and Cody’s smart voice...Just when it feels as if the story will collapse under the weight of its ambition, a character delivers a humorous line that provides enough helium to lift the show upright again...There are too many things happening...But right now, in 2018, 'Jagged Little Pill,' feels urgent. It’s also, somehow, wildly entertaining. It is wickedly funny in just the right places. We’re reminded that Morissette’s songs are a treasure. " Full Review


“Always engaging, often moving and even rousing, the show boasts dramatic interest and integrity on its own theatrical terms...This sheer synopsis might suggest a laundry list of every hot-button issue...Yet ‘Jagged Little Pill’ is no cynical exercise. Its characters may touch on a wide spectrum of contemporary life, but so do the original album’s songs...The real downside is that with so much going on, our interest and empathy are unreasonably stretched...But well served." Full Review

The Patriot Ledger

“Perhaps nothing currently on stage can equal the passion, honesty, and just plain scorching emotions of ‘Jagged Little Pill’...Despite my reservations, the show is a must see...Songs are inserted...Some fit better than others...’Jagged Little Pill’ ambitiously takes on enough subjects to fill a police blotter...It’s a lot of heavy stuff to digest...Cody ties together the ends of plot strands perhaps too neatly to be believed...But, you can overcome that because of the terrific cast." Full Review

The Arts Fuse

“’Jagged Little Pill’ manages to spotlight multiple modern problems while making us care about these characters. Though the problems resolve a little too patly, Cody, Paulus, and their team deserve credit for creating an immersive musical that brings out the pulsing humanity of Morissette’s songs. With so much going for it, the show is well worth experiencing—and with so much going on in it, you may even want to see it twice.” Full Review

Boston Herald

“This is no jukebox musical. Instead...Cody’s book brings these songs to the frontline of contemporary pain: Christmastime in suburban Connecticut...’Jagged Little Pill’ abandons subtlety. But the lack of a feature, not a bug...Morissette, Cody and...Paulus layer on the darkness...The creative team finish ‘Jagged Little Pill’ with an almost all’s-well-that-ends-well vibe. Broadway producers love this kind of climax...The upbeat ending is earned.” Full Review

The New York Times

"Passionate if overwrought...Takes on the good work we are always asking new musicals to do: the work of singing about real things. If only it didn’t sing about all of them all at once. Much of this is movingly done...Slick earnestness is a tough swallow — a jagged little pill of its own...This well intentioned and intermittently thrilling musical makes you want to applaud its efforts at 'wokeness' while also wondering if wokeness has become just another form of virtue signaling." Full Review


“’Jagged Little Pill’ does establish a reasonable framework for...Morissette songs...But Cody's dialog borders on the twee and is much more successful when surprising us with comic flourishes...Staging alternates between brilliant and overdone...It's as if Paulus doesn't trust the material or her actors...Cody's meandering book and self-help platitude tone, needs a lot of refining...Intermittent sparks are not enough. More cohesion and authenticity are needed.” Full Review


"This self-aware and synthetically woke musical is trying too hard...Too self-aware and spread too thin to leave much of a lasting impression. Cody highlights her trademark humor in her book, but also bathes it too frequently in cliché...While there is honesty to the performances and a compelling story of addiction at its core, 'Jagged Little Pill' is shocking for the tastelessness with which it suggests that we can overcome anything so long as we are rich and white." Full Review

Riveting, Intelligent, Great staging, Great singing, Absorbing

See it if I loved this show. The book and the music were mesmerizing. 'You Outta Know" in the middle the show got an extended standing ovation.

Don't see it if You're tired of plays about 'perfect' families who are quite dysfunctional.

Resonant, Intense, Great writing, Refreshing, Edgy

See it if You loved the album

Don't see it if You're bringing kids under 10

Inventive choreography, Wonderful cast, Overstuffed and somewhat cliched, Relevant, Musically engaging

See it if you are a fan of Alanis Morissette and/or Diablo Cody.

Don't see it if rock concert ambience and overamplified sound are problematic for you.

Cast & Creatives (32)