After the chaos of COVID-19, Alanis Morissette’s musical will premiere in Melbourne

He received videos of rehearsals and previews in Australia through WhatsApp. “I was sending out 20 pages of notes after every previous performance in Sydney,” she says. “I couldn’t do it in real time, I would get the videos and watch them at 8am and send notes. And they would arrive in Sydney before the next night’s show.”

The show’s Australian director, Leah Howard, and two Australian leads, Natalie Bassingthwaite, who plays MJ, and Maggie McKenna, who plays Jo, met Paulus in America after seeing the show on Broadway.

The cast of Jagged Little Pill in Sydney. Credit:Daniel Boud

When we talk on Friday morning, Paulus has just received videos from Thursday’s preview to assess. She says Morissette’s landmark album holds up as well today as it did when it was released in 1995.

“Before she was woken up it was a trope, she had a whole song called Wake up. It was amazing to work on this and remember how visceral and powerful the music was, but then go back and really look at the lyrics and understand the themes and themes that it was playing on. He was 25 years ahead of his time.”

“Music gave us the door to address what we are going through in the world today. It was a portal to face this intersectional and overwhelming world that we live in. Well-done musicals often don’t do that, they have a theme, there’s a problem, there’s a character journey.


Jagged it’s very modern, it’s a multiplicity of things happening, which is how we experience life now. It is not just a problem that we face that hangs over us. It’s about a lot of things about how we live in the world…our evolving understanding of sexual trauma, issues related to gender and gender identity, issues related to addiction that are epidemic.”

And will the telecommuting workforce become the way of the future? Paulus says the technology has provided a lifeline for the show in difficult times, but the method is far from ideal.

“I wouldn’t endorse it as a model for the future, but the idea of ​​embracing technology and thinking about how what we thought was impossible could be made possible, especially when we’re in a global pandemic world and we all know that pandemics are going to be part of our lives. lives. The name of the game in the theater has been how we adapt, that has been the name of the game of the pandemic.

“Nothing replaces human interaction and I’ve been looking for a time when I can come to Australia to watch the tour, but in the meantime being resourceful and using technology to connect and complement what we do for international exchange is profound.” she says.

Paulus says that earlier this week he cried on Zoom while speaking to the Australian artists. She was describing a pivotal moment at the end of the musical and the best way to stage it. “It’s so powerful… I feel so connected to the Australian cast, most of whom I’ve never met.”

small jagged pill is at the Comedy Theater until March 31.

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