Broadway Theater Reviews: Jagged little pill and The Sound Inside

JAGGED LITTLE PILL

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Official Blurb: a story about hard-to-swallow truths that are ultimately healing

Meet the Healys. A picture perfect family.

Perfect Connecticut couple. Perfectly beautiful daughter and perfect Harvard-bound son.
The perfect prescription for suburban bliss.But there are cracks beneath the surface. As secrets threaten to break them apart, the Healys must embrace difficult truths about themselves, and find the strength and love in each other to move forward, together.

JAGGED LITTLE PILL is a once-in-a-generation musical that “takes on the good work we are always asking new musicals to do: sing about REAL things.” (The New York Times)

Inspired by the themes and emotions of Alanis Morissette’s Grammy Award®-winning album, and written by Academy Award® winner Diablo Cody (Juno, Tully), JAGGED LITTLE PILL is an original story about love, about family, and the perfect imperfections that make us who we are.

Featuring Morissette’s iconic songs including “Ironic,” “You Oughta Know,” and “Hand In My Pocket,” as well as newly written material, this “big-hearted musical that breaks the mold” (The New York Times) is directed by Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus (​Waitress,​ ​Pippin​), with music supervision, orchestrations, and arrangements by Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Kitt (​Next to Normal​), and movement direction and choreography by Olivier Award winner and frequent Beyoncé collaborator Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

My Take: this is a hard one. My expectations were extremely high for this as I grew up in this soundtrack. The verdict is mixed for me. I thought it was a thoroughly entertaining show and I am not complaining that I get to hear this music for 2 and a half hours. However it is not perfect, not by a long shot. What I liked? I thought Lauren Patten as Jo, especially her performance of you ought to know was spectacular. The use of family dynamics was great as it did play a great vehicle for the music. Elizabeth Stanley was excellent and I really loved the staging. And the book is funny. Even in light of the heavy topics it pulls of great laughs. What I didn’t completely love? Celia rose Gooding as the lead daughter Frankie just didn’t do it for me, I wasn’t in love with her interpretation or her voice. Also, there might have been one (or two) more storylines that were needed. I get wanting to be current and relevant and also needing to give vehicles to all the songs but really racking the opioid crisis, date rape, complicated family dynamics and race are a lot of heavy topics to deal with. The last thing all the people who went to see it had an issue with, might have to do with the source material. There was a lot of shouting and strained singing. This might just be the fact that Alanis is very particular and her songs are really hard to sing but some of them don’t translate as well to others singers. It is also a bit sad how little use they him Derek Klena as I love his voice.

THE SOUND INSIDE

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Official Blurb: A brilliant Ivy League writing professor. A talented yet mysterious student. An unthinkable favor.

Everyone has a story—the question is how it ends. Tony® and Emmy® Award winner Mary-Louise Parker returns to Broadway in this thrilling show that’s a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Backed by Lincoln Center Theater and Williamstown Theatre Festival, THE SOUND INSIDE is written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp (Red Light Winter), directed by Tony Award winner David Cromer (The Band’s Visit), and features Will Hochman in his Broadway debut. Taking you behind the ivy-covered walls of Yale, and into New York’s literary haven, Greenwich Village, THE SOUND INSIDE is a riveting new American play. 90 minutes – no intermission.

My Take: The sound inside had three things that I love in a show: a swift no intermission 90 minute run time, spectacular acting by Mary Louise Parker (and she is doing two shows this season- how??) and me at the end wondering what the hell just happened and what is what? (there was a lot of googling after- who’s seen this, let’s talk) Although I wished I’d seen this in a smaller space and not through the Mezanine of studio54 (rush tickets for the win) , this is a haunting play. Ar the start the narrative storytelling was a bit grating to me however by the end it made sense and pulled it all together. You will leave with more answers than how you came in but it’s very much worth it.

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