Jagged Little Pill
photo of the original Broadway cast showing the logo for the musical
Broadway promotional poster
LyricsAlanis Morissette
BookDiablo Cody
BasisJagged Little Pill
by Alanis Morissette
PremiereMay 5, 2018 (2018-05-05): American Repertory Theater, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Productions2018 Cambridge
2019 Broadway
2022 US Tour
AwardsTony Award for Best Book of a Musical
Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album

Jagged Little Pill is a jukebox musical with music by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard, lyrics by Morissette, and book by Diablo Cody, with additional music by Michael Farrell and Guy Sigsworth. The musical is inspired by the 1995 album of the same name by Morissette and deals with pain, healing, and empowerment.[1][2] It premiered at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 5, 2018, directed by Diane Paulus.

The show began previews on Broadway in November 2019, but closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It reopened on October 21, 2021, and closed on December 17, 2021. For the 74th Tony Awards, Jagged Little Pill won two awards on 15 nominations, the most nominations of any show of the 2019–20 season. It also won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.


Co-composer and lyricist Alanis Morissette and librettist Diablo Cody.

In November 2013, it was revealed that a musical version of the album Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette was being adapted for the stage[3] with composer Tom Kitt attached to pen new arrangements and orchestrations for the production.[4] A first workshop was expected to take place in 2014,[5] but in 2015 Morissette revealed that the show was still in early stages and had yet to be written.[6] In May 2017, it was announced that the musical would receive its world premiere in May 2018, 23 years after the album came out.[7] A reading took place in 2017, with Idina Menzel as Mary Jane.[8] The first public performance of songs from the show took place in March 2018 at the American Repertory Theater Gala.[9]

The show has a book by Diablo Cody,[10] with direction by Diane Paulus,[11] choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui,[12] set design by Riccardo Hernandez,[13] costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Justin Townsend, and video design by Finn Ross.[14] Music and lyrics are by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard,[15] with musical direction by Bryan Perri,[16] sound design by Jonathan Deans, and orchestrations by Tom Kitt.[17] In addition to music from the show's namesake album, the musical also features other songs from Morissette's catalog, including "Thank U", "That I Would Be Good", and "So Pure" from 1998's Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, "So Unsexy" and "Hands Clean" from 2002's Under Rug Swept, "Unprodigal Daughter" from 2002's Feast on Scraps, "No" from the Japanese edition of 2012's Havoc and Bright Lights, and "Uninvited" from the soundtrack of the 1998 film City of Angels. Morissette also wrote two new songs for the musical, "Smiling" and "Predator", with the former included as the second single on her ninth studio album, Such Pretty Forks in the Road.


Setting: Connecticut[18]

Act I

This musical tells the story of how the Healys, a seemingly perfect white Connecticut family with an adopted Black daughter, begin to unravel when faced with issues of repressed gender identity, sexual assault, and substance abuse.[19]

Mary Jane (MJ) Healy is a mother writing the yearly family Christmas letter. She writes about her husband Steve's job promotion, her daughter Frankie's art, and her son Nick's early admission to Harvard University. MJ writes that she got into a car crash, but is healing with the help of natural remedies.[20] What she doesn't write is that Steve is addicted to pornography, Frankie is making out with her best friend, Jo, as the letter is being written, and MJ is addicted to the painkillers from the car accident ("Right Through You"). MJ pressures Nick to be perfect to keep up the family's image ("All I Really Want"). At school, Frankie and Jo discuss how their mothers don't understand or accept them: Frankie's mom because of disapproval of her self-expression, and Jo's mom not accepting them being gay or their gender expression. Jo is thankful of how Frankie understands them, and is sure that everything will turn out alright in the end ("Hand in My Pocket").

MJ tries to get drugs from the pharmacy, but she is out of refills. Desperate, she meets with a familiar dealer who provides her with opioids. MJ moves through her day backward, starting with unpacking groceries at home, getting her painkillers in the alley, keeping up appearances with other school mums, and ending with her running out of pills at the beginning of the day ("Smiling"). On the last day of Frankie's English class before winter break, she reads a short story she wrote aloud in a writer's workshop for her class to critique. The students in the class criticize her since things she claims to be ironic in her piece are not ironic, just bad things that happened to someone. A new student, Phoenix, defends Frankie and encourages her to finish ("Ironic"). A romantic attraction begins between the two. After class, Phoenix and Frankie decide to go to a party that night. At home, MJ and Steve get into an argument. Steve says he wants to see a marriage counselor, yet MJ refuses ("So Unsexy"). Nick comforts MJ after the fight. MJ claims that Nick is the only thing she has ever done right. Nick reflects on the pressures on him from his mother to be perfect ("Perfect").

Frankie and Nick go to the party ("Lancer's Party (So Pure)"). Frankie and Phoenix find each other and leave the crowded party to talk alone, and they discuss their imperfect family lives. Meanwhile, Jo doesn't attend the party because their mom forced them to go to a church function. Jo's mom scolds them for not dressing femininely enough ("That I Would Be Good"). The following day, Jo shows Frankie pictures that are circulating throughout the school of Bella, Nick's friend, who was drunk, passed out, and had her shirt pulled up at the party. Students are making fun of Bella and calling her a slut. Despite barely knowing her, Frankie and Jo go to Bella's house to check on her. Bella reveals that Andrew, Nick's best friend, was the one who took the pictures and raped her. Frankie goes home and wakes Nick up to reprimand him about not going to the police because he was the only one who saw how drunk Bella was. Nick brushes off Bella's claim, saying that Bella was being dramatic. MJ overhears the conversation and insists that Nick should not come forward as it might ruin his reputation. MJ blames Bella for what happened since she chose to drink, but she is visibly upset by the story ("Wake Up"). MJ walks to the church for the first time in a while to pray about her failing marriage, struggling relationship with Frankie, and for help with her addiction. She then reflects on her memory of being raped in college, but blames herself and feels it was God's plan for her ("Forgiven").

Act II

Steve and MJ go to their first marriage counseling session, despite MJ's reluctance ("Not the Doctor"). Meanwhile, Frankie and Phoenix hang out at a playground and end up sleeping together ("Head over Feet"). Jo enters the Healys' house uninvited ("Your House") and walks in on Frankie and Phoenix. Jo gets mad and storms out of Frankie's room. MJ and Steve come home early, and Jo tells them that Frankie and Phoenix had sex. Phoenix leaves quickly, leaving Frankie alone with her parents. MJ and Steve reprimand her for having sex so young. Frankie comes out to her parents as bisexual, and she gets mad at her parents for disapproving of her consensual sex but not caring about Bella's rape. Frankie runs away to New York City. Steve and MJ fight about Steve not being present during Frankie's childhood. Frankie takes a train alone to New York ("Unprodigal Daughter"). When she gets lost in the city, Frankie calls Phoenix. She tells him that she loves him and that he should come pick her up. When Phoenix doesn't say 'I love you' back and says he needs to stay at home to help his sister with a medical condition, Frankie gets angry and feels that Phoenix used her for her body.

Students gossip about Bella and her accusations against Andrew. Bella comes to the Healys' house to talk to Nick, but MJ is the only person at home. MJ tries to comfort Bella by telling her she was also raped in college. Bella asks MJ when she started to feel better after her rape, but MJ doesn't answer. Bella leaves, realizing that it may never get better. Nick comes clean to MJ, telling her he walked in on Andrew raping an unconscious Bella but did nothing and left ("Predator"). Nick says he wants to go to the police, but MJ says it would ruin his life and not help Bella. Nick accuses her of only caring about herself and her reputation and not about Bella. MJ slaps him. Jo comes to New York to pick up Frankie after she calls them out of desperation, lost, and out of money. Frankie shows little remorse for sleeping with Phoenix since she didn't think her relationship with Jo was exclusive. She tells Jo that she is in love with Phoenix. Jo, enraged that the one person they felt understood them doesn't love them, ends the relationship ("You Oughta Know"). At home, MJ overdoses on pills. Steve and Nick find her unconscious ("Uninvited"). When Steve gets to the hospital, he is devastated that he didn't know MJ had an addiction and promises her he will be there for her and the family from now on ("Mary Jane"). When Nick gets to the hospital, MJ tells him he should go to the police, but Nick has already told the police about what happened to Bella. Meanwhile, many students attend the rally that Frankie organized to get justice for Bella. Bella is mad at Nick since people only believed her once Nick came forward, and her statement wasn't enough ("No").

A year has passed, and MJ is writing the Christmas letter again. She writes about the progress being made in their relationships and lives. MJ tells Frankie that she wanted her to feel like every other kid and not be treated differently because of her race, but Frankie tells her that she wouldn't have wanted to fit in with the people in their town ("Thank U"). Frankie dares MJ to email the Christmas letter to everyone, despite its frankness about her overdose and her dislike of the culture in their town. MJ sends it, deciding that this will be her last Christmas letter. Jo and Frankie rekindle their friendship, and Jo has a new girlfriend. Frankie and Phoenix are now just friends. Frankie and MJ, Bella and Nick, and Steve and MJ all now appear to have mended their relationships. Everyone acknowledges that their bad decisions all help them learn and become better people ("You Learn").


Cambridge (2018)

Original playbill for the 2018 world premiere at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In May 2017, it was announced that Jagged Little Pill will premiere at the American Repertory Theater in 2018.[21] In March 2018, principal casting was announced, which included Elizabeth Stanley starring as Mary Jane, Sean Allan Krill as Steve, and Derek Klena as Nick.[22] Additionally, Lauren Patten was cast as Jo, Celia Rose Gooding as Frankie, and Kathryn Gallagher as Bella.[22]

The world premiere production of Jagged Little Pill opened on May 5, 2018, and played through July 15.[23] It was directed by Diane Paulus.[23] The musical was sold out throughout the 79-performance run, and became the highest-grossing and longest-running musical at the American Repertory Theatre.[24]

Broadway (2019–2021)

Branding seen outside the Broadhurst Theatre

In January 2019, it was announced that Jagged Little Pill would premiere on Broadway in fall 2019.[25] The principal cast from the world premiere production all transferred with the show to Broadway, with Paulus also continuing as director.[26] The show began previews at the Broadhurst Theatre on November 3, ahead of an official opening night on December 5, 2019.[27] The show suspended performances in March 2020 when all Broadway theatres closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[28]

At the 2020 Tony Awards, Jagged Little Pill led with 15 nominations.[29] The musical won two Tony Awards, with Diablo Cody winning for Best Book of a Musical and Patten winning Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.[30]

Performances resumed at the Broadhurst Theatre on October 21, 2021. Heidi Blickenstaff reopened the show as Mary Jane, filling in for Stanley who was on maternity leave. Once Stanley returned, the two shared the role. Morgan Dudley and Adi Roy joined the cast, replacing Gooding and Cipriano, respectively. In December 2021, multiple performances Jagged Little Pill were canceled due to COVID-19 issues with the cast and crew.[31] On December 20, 2021, it was announced that the production would close permanently.[31] The producers cited the need to "prioritize the health and safety of the cast, crew, and entire team", retroactively making December 17, 2021 its final show after 36 previews and 171 performances.[32]

Australia (2021–2022)

An Australian production opened at Sydney's Theatre Royal in December 2021. It is scheduled to relocate to Melbourne's Comedy Theatre in January 2022. The cast features Natalie Bassingthwaighte (Mary Jane), Tim Draxl (Steve), Emily Nkomo (Frankie), Liam Head (Nick), Maggie McKenna (Jo), Grace Miell (Bella) and Aydan (Phoenix).[33][34]

North American tour (2022-present)

In February 2022, it was announced that Jagged Little Pill would launch a North American tour.[35] In September 2022, the cast was announced. It stars Heidi Blickenstaff as Mary Jane, Chris Hoch as Steve, Lauren Chanel as Frankie, Dillon Klena as Nick, Jade McLeod as Jo, Allison Sheppard as Bella, and Rishi Golani as Phoenix.[36]

Following technical rehearsals that began in August 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky, the North American tour opened on September 6, 2022, at the Smith Center in Las Vegas. The first year of the tour will travel to 30 cities across North America, with additional cities planned for subsequent years of the tour.[37]

Planned West End production

In February 2022, it was announced that Jagged Little Pill would premiere on the West End, with an initially planned opening in November 2022,[38] however no further official plans for the production have been announced, and it has since been pushed back from its initial planned opening date.

Cast and characters

Character Reading Workshop American Repertory Theatre[14] Broadway[39] Australian Tour[40] North American Tour[41]
2017 2017 2018 2019 2021 2022
Mary Jane "MJ" Healy Idina Menzel Elizabeth Stanley Natalie Bassingthwaighte Heidi Blickenstaff
Steve Healy Michael Park Sean Allan Krill Tim Draxl Chris Hoch
Frankie Healy Celia Rose Gooding Emily Nkomo Lauren Chanel
Nick Healy Derek Klena Liam Head Dillon Klena
Jo Taylor Lauren Patten Maggie (Max) Mckenna Jade McLeod
Bella Fox Kathryn Gallagher Grace Miell Allison Sheppard
Phoenix Antonio Cipriano Aydan Calafiore Rishi Golani

Notable replacements



Jagged Little Pill features songs previously written and recorded by Morissette, with the exception of "Smiling" and "Predator", which she wrote for the show.[42]

Musical numbers


Cast recording

The original Broadway cast recording was released digitally on November 29, 2019, followed by a physical album release on December 6, 2019.[43] The cast album is distributed through Atlantic Records, and is produced by Tom Kitt and Neal Avron.[44] It debuted at number two on the Billboard Cast Albums chart, number 14 on the Alternative Album Sales chart, and number 26 on the Rock Album Sales chart.[45][46][47]

At the 2021 Grammy Awards, the cast recording album won Best Musical Theater Album.[48]

In the fall of 2022, Atlantic records released one new, stand-alone track featuring Heidi Blickenstaff and the original Broadway cast singing Uninvited.

2."Right Through You"Ensemble0:53
3."All I Really Want"Celia Rose Gooding, Elizabeth Stanley, Sean Allan Krill, Derek Klena, Ensemble4:58
4."Hand in My Pocket"Lauren Patten, Gooding, Ensemble3:01
5."Smiling"Stanley, Ensemble4:13
6."Ironic"Gooding, Antonio Cipriano, Laurel Harris, Kei Tsuruharatani, Ezra Menas, John Cardoza, Ensemble3:54
7."So Unsexy"Krill, Stanley, Ensemble2:33
8."Perfect"Klena, Ensemble2:52
9."Lancer's Party (So Pure)"Gooding, Kathryn Gallagher, Ensemble1:32
10."That I Would Be Good"Cipriano, Gooding, Patten, Ensemble3:36
11."Wake Up"Gooding, Klena, Logan Hart, Gallagher, Stanley, Ensemble4:23
12."Forgiven"Stanley, Ensemble4:53
13."Entr'Acte (Hands Clean)"Ensemble0:56
14."Not The Doctor"Stanley, Krill, Nora Schell, Ensemble1:37
15."Head Over Feet"Cipriano, Gooding, Krill, Stanley, Patten, Ensemble4:09
16."Unprodigal Daughter"Gooding, Ensemble2:54
17."Predator"Gallagher, Jane Bruce, Ensemble4:40
18."You Oughta Know"Patten, Ensemble4:19
19."Uninvited"Stanley, Gallagher, Ensemble3:45
20."Mary Jane"Krill, Ensemble3:42
21."No"Gallagher, Schell, Bruce, Menas, Max Kumangai, Patten, Gooding, Klena, Ensemble3:38
22."Thank U"Schell, Harris, Menas, Gooding, Ensemble1:58
23."You Learn"Ensemble3:53



A young adult novel adaptation was announced in Rolling Stone on December 9, 2021,[49] and was released on April 26, 2022, by Abrams Books,[50] written by Eric Smith in collaboration with the show's creators.


In the original world premiere production at the American Repertory Theater, the character of Jo was nonbinary, and portrayed by Lauren Patten, a cisgender woman. During the original production, Patten confirmed the use of they/them pronouns for the character and referred to them as nonbinary and genderqueer on multiple occasions. Although the character's sexuality was never explicitly stated, there were multiple references to Jo being nonbinary.[51]

But when the show transferred to Broadway, the show openly referred to Jo as a cisgender woman.[51] In a 2020 interview, Patten said, "Jo never was written as anything other than cisgender".[52] In April 2021, debate and backlash ensued on social media. The change in Jo's character was viewed as an example of the underrepresentation of trans and nonbinary people on Broadway.[51] Despite this, following her Tony Award win for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Patten thanked her "trans and nonbinary friends".[53]

On September 18, 2021, lead producers Vivek Tiwary, Arvind Ethan David and Eva Price apologized for changing Jo's gender identity and for not listening to feedback.[54] In their statement, the producers acknowledged their mistakes as they "set out to portray a character on a gender expansive journey without a known outcome".[54] The show hired a new dramaturge to revise the scripts, and pledged to cast actors to play Jo who are on their own gender journeys.[55]

Canadian actor Jade McLeod, who identifies as nonbinary, was cast as Jo in the North American tour of Jagged Little Pill.[56] The character was re-established as nonbinary, with McLeod reporting being given some freedom to reimagine the role.[57]

Critical reception

Cambridge production

The New York Times called the Cambridge production "[p]assionate, dramatically compelling, and big-hearted...Jagged Little Pill breaks the jukebox musical mold, and takes on the good work we are always asking new musicals to do: the work of singing about real things."[58] A New York Times feature story published on May 20, 2018, called the show's story, "steeped in hot-button issues like opiate addiction, gender identity and sexual assault", "very much of the present", and said the show "may just be the most woke musical since Hair."[59]

Bob Verini of Variety wrote, "Not since Rent has a musical invested so many bravura roles with so much individual life...It's a risky business, making a musical not from a story demanding to be told but from a set of songs merely available to be used. Jagged Little Pill triumphantly avoids the pitfalls. Always engaging, often moving and even rousing, the show boasts dramatic interest and integrity on its own theatrical terms, courtesy of director Diane Paulus, first-time librettist Diablo Cody, and that peerless, soulful balladeer of the modern Western condition, Alanis Morissette."[60]


The Broadway production of Jagged Little Pill opened to positive reviews. The New York Times called the musical "redemptive, rousing and real ... Jagged Little Pill stands alongside the original musicals that have been sustaining the best hopes of Broadway".[61] Praising the show's score, Variety wrote, "Morissette’s youthful perspective and the rocking-good score make Jagged Little Pill feel very much of the moment".[62] Rolling Stone awarded the production four out of five stars, writing that although the show feels "overly 'woke'" at times and "wears its earnestness on its sleeve", Jagged Little Pill burns with passion ... and enthusiastic beauty."[63] The show was nominated for 15 Tony Awards.[64]

2022-2023 North American Tour

Of a January 2023 performance at Providence Performing Arts Center, reviewer John McDaid wrote in BroadwayWorld that a "[s]tellar national tour brings Morisette's music to life" and called Jagged Little Pill "a powerful, moving production, superbly crafted and full of top-notch performances" and "a rare show: a jukebox musical that feels organic; a 'message' show that foregrounds authentic characters. Much of the credit goes to the excellent cast, who are intensely right there in the moment, at every moment. It's a powerful theatrical experience, a visual delight, and you absolutely will leave the theater singing."[65]

Awards and nominations

Cambridge premiere production

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2019 Elliot Norton Awards[66][67] Outstanding Musical Production Nominated
Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actress Lauren Patten Nominated
Elizabeth Stanley Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui Won
Outstanding Musical Direction Bryan Perri Nominated
IRNE Awards[68][69] Best Musical Nominated
Best New Musical Nominated
Best Actress – Musical Elizabeth Stanley Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Musical Lauren Patten Won
Best Ensemble Nominated
Best Director – Musical Diane Paulus Nominated
Best Music Director Bryan Perri Nominated
Best Sound Design Jonathan Deans Nominated

Original Broadway production

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2020 Tony Awards[70] Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Diablo Cody Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Elizabeth Stanley Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Derek Klena Nominated
Sean Allan Krill Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Kathryn Gallagher Nominated
Celia Rose Gooding Nominated
Lauren Patten Won
Best Direction of a Musical Diane Paulus Nominated
Best Choreography Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui Nominated
Best Orchestrations Tom Kitt Nominated
Best Scenic Design of a Musical Riccardo Hernández and Lucy MacKinnon Nominated
Best Costume Design of a Musical Emily Rebholz Nominated
Best Lighting Design of a Musical Justin Townsend Nominated
Best Sound Design of a Musical Jonathan Deans Nominated
Drama Desk Awards[71] Outstanding Actress in a Musical Elizabeth Stanley Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Lauren Patten Won
Outstanding Orchestrations Tom Kitt Won
Drama League Awards[72][73] Outstanding Production of a Musical Nominated
Distinguished Performance Lauren Patten Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards[74] Outstanding New Broadway Musical Honoree
Outstanding Book of a Musical Diablo Cody Honoree
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Elizabeth Stanley Honoree
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Kathryn Gallagher Honoree
Lauren Patten Honoree
Outstanding Director of a Musical Diane Paulus Honoree
Outstanding Choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui Honoree
Outstanding Orchestrations Tom Kitt Honoree
GLAAD Media Awards[75][76] Outstanding Broadway Production Nominated
2021 Grammy Awards[77] Best Musical Theater Album Neal Avron, Kathryn Gallagher, Pete Ganbarg, Vivek J. Tiwary, Tom Kitt, Michael Parker, Lauren Patten, Celia Rose Gooding, Craig Rosen, Elizabeth Stanley Won
Artios Awards[78] New York Broadway Theatre – Musical Stephen Kopel Nominated


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