‘Jagged Little Pill’ musical tour brings angst to Pantages

As a singer and songwriter, Alanis Morissette has one of the crucial distinctive voices in rock ’n’ roll. Her uncooked, quirky, brainy lyrics, idiosyncratic diction and powerfully expressive vary imply that no person within the universe sings fairly like her. However when you subscribe to the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, there’s one other universe someplace through which all people — whether or not teen, grownup, male, feminine or nonbinary — sings similar to Alanis Morissette.

“Jagged Little Pill,” the Tony-winning musical impressed by Morissette’s artwork, which opened Wednesday on the Hollywood Pantages, invitations Angelenos to go to this universe. Followers discover themselves in a fictional Connecticut city populated by characters whose emotional lexicon is made up of twenty-two picks from Morissette’s catalog: the 13 songs from her 10-times-platinum 1995 album “Jagged Little Pill,” supplemented by some later hits, a handful of deep cuts and three bespoke additions. Of their performances these characters adhere faithfully to Morissette’s beloved vocal idiosyncrasies. They croon, rasp, whisper, wail, belt and scream; they do this yodelly gulping factor. They offer the “BAY-bay” on the finish of their phrases a bratty flourish.

Morissette doesn’t sing her personal stuff on this world, whilst a personality, as a result of “Jagged Little Pill” is just not a bio-musical — that opportunistic offspring of the jukebox musical (e.g., “The Donna Summer Musical”), which has turn into a dependable Broadway revenue machine lately. Morissette is a famously confessional author, stated to have taken the lyrics for her breakthrough album straight out of her diary. I feel her bio-musical would have been a extremely good one.

However Morissette and her collaborators — longtime songwriting associate Glen Ballard, e book author Diablo Cody and director Diane Paulus — are after one thing completely different in “Jagged Little Pill.” They’ve come to carry up a mirror to primarily white, suburban America, revealing — in case we missed all of the memos — that our most cherished values are based on lies, delusions and denial. They put their fictional characters by way of traumas and dramatize their ensuing anguish by way of earnestly staged set items that sometimes appear excessive. (We will perceive that rape is traumatic even with out watching a slo-mo reenactment of 1.)

Because the tragedies amassed midshow, I began to really feel a bit of browbeaten by the solid. Each jiffy, it appeared, they have been forming a phalanx throughout the stage to belt at me, channeling the angst of youngsters all over the place right into a wordless yawp. (There have been phrases, after all, however I couldn’t at all times hear them or make them out. The sound appeared muddy on opening evening; it could enhance over the run.) The choreography, by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, a form of managed flailing, is athletic and difficult and in addition a contact condescending, as if the viewers wouldn’t do not forget that youngsters generally have bulimia — one of many few issues not addressed by the plot — if a dancer didn’t pop as much as act out a binge and purge.

Thankfully, the present doesn’t go away its characters (or the viewers) in extremis however comes again round with a hopeful ethical: Dealing with actuality hurts quite a bit however is the one path to forgiveness. Or, as Alanis places it extra succinctly: “You live, you learn.”

Guide author Cody (“Juno”), clearly the fitting alternative for the job, retains issues from getting too bleak along with her deft dialogue and characterization. The everyfamily she has created, the Healys, are troubled in acquainted methods however nonetheless endearing and witty. We first meet them at their annual Christmas card picture shoot, the place mom Mary Jane (the irresistible, hilarious Heidi Blickenstaff) is composing their annual Christmas letter — compulsively puncturing the smug tone frequent to those missives with acerbic asides.

After grousing fondly in regards to the lengthy hours her husband, Steve (Chris Hoch), has been working, preserving him away from the household, MJ provides brightly, “I’ll tell you one thing Steve has been looking at: hardcore pornography.” (She’s monitoring his web searches.) Their son, Nick (Dillon Klena), has simply been admitted to Harvard. “Our dream school — I mean his dream school,” MJ says. She doesn’t discover that Nick is cracking underneath the stress to be good; he lastly breaks down and will get drunk at a celebration, with terrible penalties.

The mother and father’ give attention to Nick additionally retains their daughter, Frankie (Lauren Chanel), at a distance. She’s adopted, Black, tentatively bisexual and a fierce feminist and social activist. Her best-friend-with-benefits, Jo, is performed right here by Jade McLeod, a nonbinary performer solid after a cisgender actor within the Broadway manufacturing sparked protests. Though Jo has a tough residence life, they’re the kind of outdated soul who will be relied on to cheer up a glum good friend with the jaunty “Hand in My Pocket.”

However when Frankie forgets all about Jo in her infatuation with an enthralling new boy (Rishi Golani), Jo doesn’t take it mendacity down: Their blistering rendition of “You Oughta Know” had the viewers on its toes earlier than the second refrain.

Two different scenes notably charmed me. In a single, Frankie reads a brand new poem to her highschool writing workshop: It’s really Morissette’s “Ironic.” Her classmates preserve interrupting her to elucidate why the conditions she’s describing — the black fly within the Chardonnay, and many others. — aren’t really ironic. “That’s not irony,” one factors out. “That’s just, like, s—.” This tongue-in-cheek alternate made me like Morrissette even higher whereas transporting me to the mid-Nineties when my writing workshop mates and I have been earnestly making the identical factors.

The second scene belongs to MJ: Whereas singing “Smiling,” a haunting ballad Morrissette wrote with Michael Farrell for this musical, MJ goes by way of her every day chores in a painkiller haze, however in reverse, the scenes of her morning re-forming and dissolving round her as she shuffles backwards alongside her well-worn route. The swish, meticulous staging is a triumph.

“Jagged Little Pill” didn’t give me as a lot behind-the-music gossip about Morrissette’s life as I’d have appreciated. (Will she ever inform us if “You Oughta Know” is de facto about Dave Coulier?) But it surely nonetheless sings in her voice, animated by her expertise, braveness and in the end optimistic worldview.

‘Jagged Little Pill’

The place: Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles

When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and eight p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays. Ends Oct. 2

Tickets: Beginning at $39

Contact: (800) 982-2787 or BroadwayInHollywood.com or Ticketmaster.com

Working time: 2 hours, 40 minutes, with one intermission