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Student Blog: “You Oughta Know” About Broadway Workshop's JAGGED LITTLE PILL Day

If there’s one thing “You Oughta Know”, it’s the epitome of professionalism, learning, and fun: Broadway Workshop. 

Jagged Little Pill
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If there's one thing "You Oughta Know", it's the epitome of professionalism, learning, and fun: Broadway Workshop.

A few weekends ago, I was able to attend their Jagged Little Pill themed event. It was split into two productive parts: hour 1 was a dance workshop, hour 2 was an open format Q&A. The entire workshop was conducted remotely and safely via Zoom. Some overseas attendees participated in real time from corners of the world where the local time was past midnight!

Yeman Brown, ensemble/swing in JAGGED LITTLE PILL, taught us in hour 1. He first led us through a pulse-raising full body warm-up, getting us loose and limber and ready to tackle the ensemble and swing choreography to the song "Unprodigal Daughter". Brown fed us this elephant of a number one forkful at a time and was most gracious and patient in answering our oh, so many questions.

I was interested (and relieved!) to learn that all Jagged Little Pill numbers offer built-in options for certain moves if a dancer cannot execute them for any reason. Say, for example, you have a foot injury, you can do a leg move instead of a turn. We learned the very same combinations that they teach at Jagged Little Pill auditions.

During the waning minutes of hour 1, we were able to ask Yeman a few questions. His best advice for anyone interested in being a swing in a show? "Learn everything." He implored. "Learn how the machine works, not just your individual part."

We all greedily guzzled our waters and downed well earned snacks during the intermezzo between hour 1 and hour 2, the Q&A portion with Derek Klena (Nick Healy), Lauren Patten (Jo), and Elizabeth Stanley (Mary Jane Healy).

All in attendance had an opportunity to ask a question. The one inquiry that I found most educational was "What do you do to separate yourself from the material?"

The content and storyline of Jagged Little Pill makes it one of the heaviest shows on Broadway, in the same league with the likes of SPRING AWAKENING or NEXT TO NORMAL. Given the emotions that the actors emote every night on stage, I was really interested in the answer.

"Learn not to use your own traumas and pain." Said Patten. "Do yoga, go to therapy; learn to build a tool box of everything you need to properly care for yourself."

Klena elaborated that "You have to leave it at the theatre, or it's not sustainable. We are creatures of habit, and the same applies for being in a show. As soon as you enter or leave the building, you take it on, or leave it there."

You live, you learn, you love, you learn, and (sometimes) you cry... but you (always) learn with Broadway Workshop.

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