Forbes: Alanis Morissette's 'Jagged Little Pill' Continues Its Rollout, This Time As A Musical

Publication date: 
May 30, 2017
Hugh McIntyre

Alanis Morissette rocked the world over 20 years ago when she released her international debut album Jagged Little Pill, which would go on to become an incredible success story in terms of sales, but also as an important moment in pop culture. Her rocking, angry record remains one of the most beloved and replayed albums ever created, and now the singer-songwriter is looking to continue to expand its legacy, this time in a way few could have ever expected when the title was first released.

According to the New York Times, Morissette has created a musical based on the album, and it won’t be long before fans can start attending showings. The as-yet-untitled musical will reportedly be a part of the American Repertory Theater’s 2018 season, though for the moment the staging appears to be limited to Cambridge, MA, where the theater company is based. The musical will be directed by theater legend Diane Paulus and the book will be written by Diablo Cody.

With a Grammy winner (Morissette), a Tony winner (Paulus) and an Oscar winner (Cody) on board, things are already looking bright for the musical, which also already has a built-in audience that will surely be eager to purchase tickets. While making a musical based off of just one album might seem a bit too specific and a risky bet, Jagged Little Pill is no ordinary LP. The title is one of the most successful in history, and Morissette has been able to sell it back to fans several times over throughout the decades.

The original record was a commercial and critical achievement when it was released in mid-1995, as it went to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and eventually sold over 15 million copies in the U.S. alone. It spun off several hit singles, many of which remain fan favorites to this day, such as “You Oughta Know,” “You Learn,” “Hand In My Pocket” and perhaps the most iconic of the bunch, “Ironic.”

Morissette re-released Jagged Little Pill in acoustic form 10 years after it was first unleashed, though that plan didn’t work very well for her. Many critics pointed out that what made the original album so revolutionary and as wonderful as it was (and remains to this day) is the energy and the anger, which is conveyed through her powerful vocals and the rocking electric guitars, and which were lost when re-recorded in acoustic form. Nevertheless, the album moved several hundred thousand copies worldwide.

On the twentieth anniversary of the title, the Canadian singer released a collector’s edition, including several demos and a full live concert from 1995, and yet again, fans snapped it up.

One can hardly blame Morissette for continuing to share Jagged Little Pill with her fans in various forms, as it remains far and away her most successful piece of work. She has done well with her follow-up records, but none have captured the public’s attention in the same way that her breakout record managed to over two decades ago. It will be interesting to see if the musical that Morissette, Cody and Paulus are cooking up will make it to Broadway, or if it will manage the capture the same beauty expressed on the album, but the news surely has kids of the 90’s excited to experience the music once more in a completely different setting.


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