“The show is not about Alanis Morissette; it’s taking the songs from the album and telling the story of this family,” DC native and actor Daniel Timm told WTOP.
WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews Jagged Little Pill at the National Theater (Part 1)
In 1995, singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette released one of the greatest albums of all time with Jagged Little Pill.
In 2019, she inspired a Tony Award-winning Broadway production whose national tour is rocking National Theater in DK from March 14 to 26.
“The show is not about Alanis Morissette; it takes the songs from the album and tells the story of this family,” DC native and actor Daniel Timm told WTOP. “It’s not like ‘Jersey Boys,’ it’s not like ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,’ it’s more like ‘Mamma Mia!’ He takes her music and uses it as a tool to tell a new story and create new characters.”
Written by Oscar winner Diablo Cody (“Juno”), the story follows Mary Jane, a modern-day housewife who struggles with addiction while trying to raise her daughter and son.
“The story is about a modern American family and we watch them go through a journey that touches on topics that millions of people are dealing with today like mental health, addiction, identity,” said Tim. “It’s a beautiful story about pain, healing, empowerment. … It’s high energy, it’s funny, it’s emotional — there’s something for everyone to relate to.”
The songbook features numerous hits from the album, including “All I Really Want,” which Tim calls “my favorite number of the show.” This is the first time we see this family in crisis. Focusing on MJ and her daughter Frankie(s), it really shows how they butt heads and how unbalanced their relationship is. … It’s really confrontational, but in a fun way.”
Act 1 also includes the hit “Hand in My Pocket,” which Tim said is “obviously one of her most iconic songs.” In this story, it is used to represent the relationship between Frankie and Joe.
“This is a wonderful number. This number is really uplifting. It’s about acceptance, it celebrates the song, but it’s just a happy number that celebrates love,” said Tim.
Of course, you’ll also hear the self-poking cult pop hit “Ironic.”
“It’s very stupid,” said Tim. “Frankie performs his poetry in class, introducing the idea of what is ironic and what is not. … This is the first time we’ve broken the fourth wall with the audience because (there was) some debate about whether what Alanis is saying is ironic.”
Act 2 contains “Head over Feet,” which Tim calls “a wonderful, romantic moment between Frankie and the beloved Phoenix. It’s a moment where they’re just celebrating their new love, being young and having that new, wonderful feeling. They are on a swing that spins. It is absolutely beautiful. … It’s a great pop-rock song.”
The fiercest feminist anthem is “You Oughta Know.” “It’s a show number,” Tim said. “I think it steals the show. When I saw the show on Broadway, it was a number where people stood up and you just got into this moment of extreme power and catharsis. It’s absolutely amazing. How do you feel about this song? It’s so powerful!”
By the way, the show ends with “You Learn,” which Tim says is “Such a perfect finale. It ties together everything you just experienced. It’s a way for the performers and the audience to just connect, like we’ve both been on this journey together, we’ve made it to this last place, let’s sing this song that most of you know. … We have come to this. Now we can breathe.”
More information about tickets can be found here.
WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews Jagged Little Pill at the National Theater (Part 2)