My husband and I saw Jagged Little Pill last Thursday evening and both of us were pleasantly surprised, given what I'd read here. I won't say it's a perfect show; the actress playing Frankie lacks the necessary vocal talent, and it takes too long for act one to get started ( we weren't really engaged until "That I Would Be Good" ). We felt that the first act spent too much time at a low simmer while setting up each character, but it did finish strongly and act two was much better. We disagree with those who suggested that the show includes too many plot points, and that the Nick character (Derek Klena) is superfluous; much of the story in act two hinges on him and it all ties together in the end.
The use of "Uninvited" to depict the mother wrestling with her abuse and addiction is brilliant. Although perhaps the simplest scene in the show (from a production standpoint), it is chilling to watch her and her doppelganger slither around the sofa together as a visual accompaniment to this moody and vaguely sinister song. We both agreed that this scene alone is worth the price of admission.
If they would just tighten up act one and maybe re-orchestrate some of the songs there to vary what currently feels like a too-consistent idle speed, Jagged Little Pill could be a worthwhile show. Even as it is, we have no regrets about having seen it and would actually consider visiting it again.
Cody makes the case that the very flaws many of us are responding to -- an overload of topicality -- is the singular artistic aesthetic here: an intentional pile-on to create a kind of issue-driven mosaic. To her thinking the chaos in the world justifies the chaos in her art. Now that I've read an actual creative MO, I feel more justified, not less, in saying it didn't work for me. This is part of the show's ambition, baked in, and I say: bravo for the ambition, and thumbs down for the ham-fisted execution. She's entitled to aim high,broad and expansive; I'm entitled to say: as a musical theater aficionado, I find the excesses dilute rather than enhance her cause(s). I agree with her: the world is tormented by our ADHD-like focus on the intersection problems in various arenas. But we still need our storytelling to take us on a ride that's crafted to illuminate only what it can accomplish in 2.5 - 3 hours (the musical's general playing time). Time is precious in the theater; the clock ticks, our attention span is tested, and so is our patience. More simply: when you have more issues than actual developed story, and you overload your characters without adequately dramatizing their crises, you end up with "Jagged Little Pill."
Lot666 said: "I won't say it's a perfect show; the actress playing Frankie lacksthe necessary vocal talent, and it takes too long for act one to get started ( we weren't really engaged until "That I Would Be Good" ). We felt that the first act spent too much time at a low simmer while setting up each character, but it did finishstrongly and act two was much better.We disagree with those who suggested that the show includes too many plot points, and that the Nick character (Derek Klena) is superfluous; much of the story in act two hinges on him and it all ties together in the end."We disagree re the show (i hated it), agree re Klena's character being critical (though so poorly written it was hard to watch) and definitely agree with the Uninvited number which was a highlight of the night, no question. But I am shocked to hear you didnt think Celia Gooding was singing well. When I saw it, her vocals were one of few highlights.
JDonaghy4 said: "I am shocked to hear you didnt think Celia Gooding was singing well. When I saw it, her vocals were one of few highlights."We both thought she was easily the weakest link in the cast. On more than one occasion, she tried to run up from chest to head and her voice cracked loudly.
quizking101 said: "Some additional thoughts, I thought the only honest performance on the stage was Kathryn Gallagher. It never felt like she was trying to show off or be melodramatic and that solidified her with me.”Very interesting - I actually found her to be overacting the most out of anyone. Really fascinating how divisive this show is.
Jagged Little Pill Review - DoubleDReviewsI really love double D’s review of the show
My parents are in town for thanksgiving. This is the show I brought them to. They had a blast. Some complaints about the music overpowering the vocals.Otherwise, they went on the ride and enjoyed it on its own terms. And they’re pretty conservative, my parents. Not in an unreasonable way at all, but it was interesting listening to them discuss the meaning they found in, for example, all the picket signs.They thought the set looked great, they enjoyed the chorus’s dancing. Mom’s favorite part was MJ’s shadow dance. Their favorite show ever is right next door (Phantom [although a close second for my mom would be Kiss of the Spider Woman]).So....I guess my parents are cooler than me. What I saw was a very intimate story about a family that was being bombarded constantly but all this STUFF. Is this family a little too familiar to Next to Normal? I guess, but I’m not nuts about that one. I actually liked these people. There are some priceless moments too. That backwards song. Talk about cool as hell.Derek Klena is hot af and I was perfectly fine with him being there. As well as the guy playing Phoenix. Hello.The way the misuse of irony was being opposed during “Ironic” was pretty adorable.Just.....significantly cut the chorus appearances, focus the damn story on SOMETHING, and stop showing me the band. There’s more but they’ve been covered here ad nauseam. After hearing my opinions on it, my parents called me a grumpy old man.I love my parents.
Theatrefanboy1 said: "Was Sherie Rene Scott ever attached to this show. The other night I was watching it think what a perfect role for her. And at intermission I heard two people talking with the same thought and this was followed by a handful more comments by others while waiting."No, Idina Menzel did the workshops. Rumor is she was offered the role for Broadway but turned it down, and then they approached Nicole Sherzinger, who also turned it down.
I loved Elizabeth Stanley, but I would give all the money to see/hear Menzel perform the Forgiven and Uninvited scenes.
JDonaghy4 said: "I loved Elizabeth Stanley, but I would give all the money to see/hear Menzel perform the Forgiven and Uninvited scenes."Love Idina but now I can't get Sherie Rene Scott out of my head. The last time Sherie replaced another actress was in Rent. I wonder if she'd ever replace in this. If it runs long enough.
CATSNYrevival said: "JDonaghy4 said: "I loved Elizabeth Stanley, but I would give all the money to see/hear Menzel perform the Forgiven and Uninvited scenes."Love Idina but now I can't get Sherie Rene Scottout of my head. The last time Sherie replaced another actress was in Rent.I wonder if she'd ever replace in this. If it runs long enough."Thank god I’m not the only one who pictured Sherie Rene Scott. I kept seeing her and forgetting it was Elizabeth Stanley.Also, Nicole Scherzinger still screams sexpot to me, even at 41, so I could never buy her in this. Melanie Chisholm (Mel C) might actually a good fit if it ever goes to London
Not a fan of the show, but I am a fan of Menzel, and I don;t think she would've helped the cause. Her celebrity might've made the focus more subconscious for the audience -- she'd be over the title, after all, so we'd effortlessly feel she's the spoke in this many-spoked wheel -- but the material would feel more disjointed around her. None of the overthinking here touches Stanley, who gives a heroic, disciplined, fully integrated performance in a show that doesn't entirely work around her. I don't think the Menzel persona would add, and would likely detract. If this show makes Stanley A List, good news. She earns it.
Jordan Catalano said: "Stanley is excellent in this show. If you just focus on her character and her storyline, there’s a very good musical here. It’s when we shift focus from her, that the musical tends to go downhill."Excellently put. I think her and Patten give the most grounded and realized performances.
CATSNYrevival said: "What’s the scenery like? Are there any pictures yet? I’ve seen a few on view from my seat and the stage looks pretty bare."The set is dirt cheap and LOUD. The sliding panels that look like they are made out of corrugated plastic loudly grind in and out of place, and are splattered with some of the ugliest projections I have ever seen.
Just came back to praise Elizabeth and Katheryn. I 100% believe that they could both get Tony nominations for leading and supporting actress respectively.I think choreography and lighting design nominations are a given as well. Everyone praises you Oughta know but I really do think uninvited is the showstopper when it comes to choreography and sound design.
I was midway in the orchestra and could hear the set being moved on and off. And I felt bad for the actors in the quieter moments when the set was being pushed off the stage. It was distracting. I don't know if it is budget constraints or bad design, but it doesn't work for the show. There's zero time/place with the design. For a show that is suppose to be so current so NOW, the design gives zero specifics.
I was in the Mezz, so I personally didn’t hear anything. I had a friend in the Orchestra who said he could hear movement but he wouldn’t call it distracting or loud. Also, someone pointed out the jump roping done on stage and called it comical [or something like that]. Out of context, yes. However it’s obviously done to emphasize the reverse movement during Smiling. If they did that scene with just a bunch of people walking backwards, that would look stupid. Another comment was the swing set scene which, again, I didn’t mind. I thought it was cute.
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