Jagged Little Pill Returns to Broadway October 21

Broadway News   Jagged Little Pill Returns to Broadway October 21
 
The Alanis Morissette musical reopens after two Tony wins and amid a series of controversies, investigations, and departures.
Jagged Little Pill_Broadway_Production Photos_2019_X_HR
Lauren Patten and the Cast of Jagged Little Pill Matthew Murphy

Following its coronavirus hiatus, the Alanis Morissette jukebox musical Jagged Little Pill resumes performances at the Broadhurst Theatre October 20.

Broadway alum Heidi Blickenstaff temporarily takes over the lead role of Mary Jane Healy from Tony nominee Elizabeth Stanley, who is out on maternity leave; the two will share the role upon her return. Also among those new to the cast is Morgan Dudley, making their Broadway debut as Frankie Healy.

Heidi Blickenstaff and Morgan Dudley
Heidi Blickenstaff and Morgan Dudley

While the show remained dark, it received two Tony Awards at this year's ceremony: Best Book for Diablo Cody and Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for Lauren Patten. Patten's portrayal of Jo, however, has been the center of a controversy surrounding the show's depiction of gender, after theatre artists and activists called out the ambiguity of Jo's identity; while Patten identifies as a cisgender woman, Jo was implied to be non-binary during development, and discrepancies remained as the show opened.

As the production addressed these concerns with the hiring of a Director of People & Culture and a series of public commitments, Nora Schell, a member of the original cast, shared allegations of mistreatment from production management in regards to a medical condition. "During previews...I was intimidated, coerced, and forced by multiple higher ups to put off critical and necessary surgery to remove growths from my vagina that were making me anemic," Schell, who is Black and uses they/them pronouns, said. The production and Actors' Equity Association separately launched investigations into the events.

Celia Rose Gooding, who originated the role of Frankie and received a Tony nomination, said they "cannot ignore the harm Jagged has done to the trans and non-binary community," citing the allegations in addition to scheduling commitments as a reason for their departure. Antonio Cipriano, who was initially reported to reprise his performance as Phoenix once the show reopened, also said he would not return: "As a member of the community, I recognize my privilege and take responsibility for being part of the harm caused." Adi Roy now makes his Broadway debut in the role.

The 2021 cast also includes returning players Derek Klena as Nick Healy, Sean Allan Krill as Steve Healy, and Kathryn Gallagher as Bella. The ensemble welcomes new additions Runako Campbell, Janine DiVita, Veronica Otim, Wren Rivera, and Grace Slear—they join Annelise Baker, Yeman Brown, Jane Bruce, John Cardoza, Ken Wulf Clark, Logan Hart, Zach Hess, Max Kumangai, Heather Lang, Kelsey Orem, DeAnne Stewart, and Kei Tsuruharatani.

The Diane Paulus-helmed production features sets by Tony nominee Riccardo Hernández, costumes by Emily Rebholz, lighting by Tony nominee Justin Townsend, sound design by Jonathan Deans, and projection and video design by Lucy Mackinnon.

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