The popular musical will play at the National Theatre
“Jagged Little Pill” is one of the most iconic rock albums of the ’90s, with Canadian rocker Alanis Morissette selling more than 33 million copies worldwide, thanks to anthems like “You Ought to Know,” “You Learn” and “Ironic.”
In 2019, the songs of Morissette were turned into a jukebox musical taking the name from the album, and immediately found success on Broadway. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced the show to close early in its run, but it came back for a bit when things started to reopen in New York, filled with supporters of the singer and the show.
A national tour of “Jagged Little Pill” is now playing at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., through March 26.
The show stars Broadway vet Heidi Blickenstaff, who is no stranger to D.C., and Northern Virginia, having originated the role of Katherine Blake in the musical version of “Freaky Friday” in Arlington’s Signature Theatre in 2016. She also performed at the theatre for “First You Dream: The Music of Kander and Ebb” in 2012 and won a Helen Hayes Award for her performance in “Meet John Doe” at the Ford’s Theatre in D.C.
She’s graced the Broadway stage in shows such as “Something Rotten,” “The Full Monty,” “The Little Mermaid” and “The Addams Family.” When “Jagged Little Pill” reopened on Broadway following the pandemic, Blickenstaff played Mary Jane Healy and continues in the role for the national tour.
Blickenstaff is joined in the production by Lauren Chanel as Frankie and Dillon Klena as Nick. The latter is the younger brother of Tony-nominated Derek Klena, who originated the role of Nick on Broadway.
“The show has been in my family for a really long time,” Klena said. “My brother was part of the company from the very beginning, so I was able to watch it grow from 2015 to now, and seeing its journey with changes and revisions has been really cool. It’s been a cool experience for my whole family, paying homage to what’s happened before but also doing it in my own way.”
Being a “California boy,” Klena shared that his house was always full of the latest music, so he knew of Morissette’s hits growing up and has enjoyed learning more with the show.
Chanel was also part of the Broadway cast and was excited to get the chance to continue with the show on the road. But unlike Klena, she wasn’t aware of Morissette’s music before auditioning for the show.
“I didn’t know it at all,” Chanel said but stressed that audiences don’t need to be familiar with the songs to enjoy the musical. “Her music was a little before her time as far as being relatable, and it’s just great work that everyone will be impressed by.”
With a Tony-winning book by Diablo Cody and a Grammy-winning score, the show presents a messy, tumultuous, and honest image of a modern family and their struggles, highlighting the themes of addiction, trauma, empowerment, and the slow but necessary path to healing.
“The show is a story about the Healy family who seems like the perfect Connecticut family but as you look what happens behind closed doors, you see all the people in the family have their own journeys, issues, strengths, and weaknesses,” Klena said. “We’re basically holding up a mirror to society and it offers a rollercoaster of emotions.”
Being on a national tour means visiting different cities and that’s one of Chanel’s favorite parts about doing this production. She’s looking forward to visiting some of her favorite restaurants and museums while spending a couple of weeks in the District.
Klena likes seeing how different audiences in different cities respond to the show.
“Wherever we go, the show has a different reaction from people so you start understanding how different minds work,” he said. “A lot of where you are changes the whole demeanor of the show, and that’s what keeps it fresh and new. I’m excited to go to D.C., and see how they respond.”