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Emmy Award winning series United States of Tara with Steven Spielberg, found herself in uncharted territory with Pill . “I was completely new to theater,” Cody says. “I’ve never so much as written a play before, let alone the book for a musical that could potentially head to Broadway, so it was daunting. I was really nervous and I knew that I had a lot to learn. I was operating out of my comfort zone. I thought I would be so limited in terms of what I could write, especially when I imagined that there were no special effects and that everything would happen on stage in one take. I thought there would be a lot

metaphorically, the world,” says Paulus. “The world is burning and the mom is just trying to write the perfect letter. When Diablo finished her pitch I immediately said, ‘I get it, I’m in. I know how to do the show.’” “Diablo Cody’s heart is as open as her mind is bright and brave [and she] has taken this record – which has meant so much to me – to a whole other level of depth, meaning and natural activism,” says Morissette, who describes Cody’s voice as “fierce, sensitive and hilarious.” “[She touches] on topics that keep me up at night for how deeply I care about them.”

hen Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill dropped in 1995, critics described it as “raw,” “edgy,” “distinct” and “feminist.” No matter how they felt about the album, they ultimately agreed that it was unique. The world followed suit, and Morissette’s first nationwide album topped the chart in thirteen countries with sales of over 33 million copies worldwide. Pill went on to win five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. Despite its massive success, no one would have predicted that 24 years later Morissette’s music would lay the groundwork for a Broadway musical. “The guiding soul of this project from the get go was that iconic album, the holy grail,” says Diane Paulus ( Hair , Waitress ), the director of the new musical, Jagged Little Pill , who recalls first listening to the album with Tom Kitt (the music supervisor, orchestrator and arranger), followed by a discussion about what they had heard and how it made them feel. When book writer Diablo Cody came on board, there was more dialogue about what they visualized as they heard the iconic songs. Soon, Morissette herself got involved. “Really hearing from Alanis as to what was important about the music led to larger issues about her philosophy and relational healing, and the way she thinks about psychology. All of the themes in the show ended up coming from the music. Her songs go on journeys. Her music didn’t resist this exercise, it opened doors,” adds Paulus. “This process, and what this process has yielded artistically and collaboratively, has been nothing short of a revelation, a balm and an arrival for me,” says Morissette. “It is a culmination of so much of what my life’s work has been oriented toward.” Cody, an Academy Award winner who is best known for her acclaimed screenplays, ( Juno , Young Adult ) and for creating the

Jagged Little Pill is no ordinary jukebox musical; in fact, Paulus says their mission was to break the mold of the average jukebox musical, noting that it even includes two new songs that Morissette specifically wrote for the show, which is ultimately about a family that begins to show the cracks beneath the surface of their seemingly perfect state. The show includes themes of addiction, identity, politics and assault. “I think we were trying to find ways to build a story where the songs come right out of the characters. Because of the way [Cody] has written this, there are moments where I think, ‘Oh my god. That song was written for that character!’ The songs just fall out of the characters’ mouths in a seamless way, and they were written yesterday for this moment,” says Paulus. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM 71

of things that I’d want to see but wouldn’t be able to execute. It turned out to be the exact opposite.” Paulus says that she will never forget Cody’s concerns when it came to writing the book. “Diablo went away and came up with a proposal of how this would land in a narrative,” says Paulus. “She came back saying, ‘I know how I would write this as a film …’ I said, ‘So, just do that and pitch it to me like you would pitch a film. Don’t worry about it being a musical and it having to follow different rules.’” Cody began describing the idea of a family and the relationships within it, beginning with a mother writing a Christmas letter, “trying to hold onto all of the appearances of everything being perfect, but really everything is falling apart around her, including,

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