Over the past few weeks, “Jagged Little Pill” has been picking up momentum.
The musical was featured in the Thanksgiving Day parade, recorded performances for the NBC Broadway special and is now gearing up for a live concert version of the show.
These events have served to reunite a company that has largely been apart since mid-March and to provide employment opportunities to actors and musicians during the Broadway shutdown. In participating in these wide-reaching performances, the hope is the musical can remain top-of-mind for fans and within the theater community until it can return to Broadway.
“Part of it is business. We’re just trying to be smart, responsible producers,” said Vivek Tiwary, a lead producer of “Jagged Little Pill.” “But we’re also just passionate about this show and want it to remain in people’s minds. And we will be back, but until we’re back, we’re going to take care of our fans and our cast and our company as best we can.”
This Sunday, the production plans to stage a live concert at Shubert Studios, featuring its principal cast members and Broadway band members. The concert will feature many of Alanis Morissette’s songs from the show, alongside a script written for the concert by “Jagged Little Pill” director Diane Paulus and book writer Diablo Cody.
“I’m just overwhelmed by the thought of reuniting and being creative again together in this way,” Paulus said.
The concert also serves as a benefit for several performing arts centers and regional theaters across the country. The theaters are able to sell tickets to the concert and to keep a portion of the proceeds.
To prepare for the concert, in which cast and band members will be performing together indoors and in the same space, the participants will have to undergo two COVID PCR tests and remain relatively isolated for the 14 days leading up to the event. Most of the rehearsals this week will be conducted over Zoom, with in-person activities commencing Saturday.
All on-site personnel will receive temperature checks at the door and then remain socially distanced and wear masks during the concert. The actors will remain masked until they are singing.
Many of the principal cast members had travelled back to the city to film their Thanksgiving Day performance and the NBC performances — which were recorded on the same day — and then were asked to stay in the state for the concert. Due to COVID-19 protocols, the entire cast cannot perform live.
Unlike prior performances, the concert will premiere live, in an effort to match the energy of the stage show and its rock-based score.
“It’s as close a return to live theater as we can get,” Paulus said.
The hope, according to Tiwary, is to make this the first in a series of “Jagged” events, which can help sustain the show’s trajectory and support the show’s cast and company through the shutdown. The show also recently released a coffee-table book as part of that effort.
Since the show was suspended on March 12, Sean Allan Krill, who is Tony nominated for his performance of Steve Healy, patriarch of “Jagged Little Pill’s” central family, has been writing songs and trying to keep his body and voice primed for the production’s return. He has also been exploring television and film opportunities while he waits.
Many of the company members have been able to keep in touch through weekly Zoom happy hours hosted by the producers. But Krill said nothing has matched the experience of performing again with his cast members in November and now for this concert.
“We’ve just been starved for nine months now, and it was really wonderful,” Krill said “I just adore our show. One of the things I’m most proud of in my whole career is doing this show, and it was just very emotional to be back at it.”