REVIEW: Jagged Little Pill

I’ve got one hand in my pocket – unsure of what to expect of Jagged Little Pill; knowing my love for Alanis Morissette’s music will make the night enjoyable, but not knowing the premise of the show. Within the first few songs, after the sound levels adjusted, the audience was wrapped in a story the many hard hitting topics of today escorted along with immense talent of all the cast to tell the stories. Immediately you know are going to have a wonderful show that night.

You Live – the life of the Healy family, where all four members are struggling with their own personal demons. Mary Jane Healy, played by Heidi Blickenstaff, is struggling with an addiction to opiates following a car accident. Steve Healy, played by Chris Koch, is a workaholic with an addition to adult themed searches on the internet. Nick Healy, played by Dillon Elena, is working thru the pressures of being the perfect child and living up to the expectations of those around him. Frankie Healy, played by Lauren Chanel, is processing her sexuality while rallying against the injustices she experiences around her.

You Love – the passion and talent of every performer, no matter if they are the lead or supporting member. Blickenstaff (Mary Jane) sings a classic song, in the first act, addressing her addiction, all while doing the scene is reverse which replays the decisions that lead her to current situation. The seamless flow of the entire cast through this song, down the to the detail of a grocery store employee helping her with a fumbled Kleenex box was awe-inspiring. Jo, played by Jade McLeod, was a totally unexpected strength in this show. In the second act, McLeod (Jo) performs “You Ought to Know” with such strength, passion and emotion it left the audience members breathless and we were not even the ones preforming. The band especially got into this song and it rocked!!!

You Cry – with emotion in so many part of this show. One of the themes of the production covers a sexual assault that occurred at a school party and the following trauma. The emotion continues when McLeod (Jo) shares their heartbreak over losing someone they care for deeply. The tears catch in your throat when Blickenstaff’s (Mary Jane) addiction hits an all-time low.

You Loose – your patience trying not to sing out loud with the music. During the beginning of “Ironic” you could hear murmurings of the audience quietly singing the lyrics to themselves.

You Learn – true appreciation for the stage set. With the use of two digital screens that move along the stage, the progression of the story line is projected on the screens helping set the mood. The use of flexible and fluid props through the production was something to see. During the scene in the classroom, desks on rolling casters allow the “students” to seamlessly move around in their choreography. Don’t blink or you won’t see the changes happen.

You Ask – for the show to not end. Just as you are getting fully settled in, being surrounded by wonderful story telling, amazing music and show stopping talent, the show concludes.

Recommend – seeing this show at least once while it is in town, if not a few times more.The awesome energy and vibrancy the cast and crew create for their audience to experience is outstanding.

Jagged Little Pill is at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis through August 13, 2023.

DEAL ALERT:In-Person Student/Educator rush will be available for all performances of “Jagged Little Pill”
• $40 cash only
• 2 ticket limit per valid Student/Educator ID
• Starts 2 hours prior to show in person at the Orpheum Theatre
• Line forms outside the theatre

Review by Rachel Gorman; photo by Matthew Murphy