A simple lit rooftop, church steeple, or body-as-a-temple metaphor greets you as you enter the theater. Two bright lines meet in the middle, seemingly pointing upwards towards something greater. Designed by Riccardo Hernández, with lighting brought to life by designer Justin Townsend, the simplicity of the set is apt. Perhaps it serves as a reminder that sanctuary looks different for everyone though we seek it out under the familiar form of a rooftop.
Jagged Little Pill
Through 4/23: Tue and Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Wed 2 and 7:30 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM; James M. Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, broadwayinchicago.com, $35-$125
Anyone who fawned over director Diane Paulus’s revival of 1776 will undoubtedly see and feel her influence over this tour of Jagged Little Pill. Inspired by Alanis Morissette’s 1995 album by the same name, the musical (book by Diablo Cody) shows us that what was once new can be made new again. While the teens of the 1980s and ’90s are now entering middle age, the angst-filled music that inspired them to change the world does the same for their children.
While JLP is by and large about healing, empowerment, and pushing back on the status quo, it also aptly demonstrates how radical ideas come in waves—and that sometimes we must continue to fight the same battles that our parents and their parents did before them.
At the center of this introspective suburban musical experiment is the Healy family. Mary Jane, Steve, Nick, and Frankie are doing their best just to make it day to day while each battles their own internal firestorms. What will shake you to the core in this production, though, are the powerhouse voices behind Mary Jane (Heidi Blickenstaff) and Frankie (Lauren Chanel) as well as Jade McLeod’s Jo and Allison Sheppard’s Bella.
For anyone, like myself, who sadly missed Blickenstaff originating Bea in Something Rotten! on Broadway, do not miss the chance to catch her absolutely dominating the stage. And for anyone who wants to see some of musical theater’s brightest up-and-comers, this brilliant young cast is what you’re looking for.