When Alanis Morissette released “Jagged Little Pill” in 1995, it quickly soared to the status of a generation-defining album. The songs “Ironic” and “You Oughta Know” are seminal classics and define the timbre of that album very well. Still not waning in popularity, Morissette’s crown jewel is now being adapted for performance on Broadway.
The adaptation process should not be painstakingly difficult due to the almost sketch-like nature of most of the work on the album. The music video for the song “Ironic” certainly is evidence of this; and, although critics have bashed that particular number for not actually identifying any situations involving true irony, the song’s enduring success does speak for itself. It is rumored that Morissette herself may be performing in the Broadway show; but, as to the where, when, and concrete truth to that rumor, nothing has been set in stone.
Another ponderous question surely on the minds of a few individuals out there in the music world will be if this Broadway performance will reinvigorate the interest surrounding the song “You Oughta Know.” When the album was on the top of the charts, and long afterwards, people consistently speculated about who she was directing her message towards within the song. The most widely accepted conclusion was that the song was about Dave Coulier, most commonly known as Uncle Joey from the popular family sitcom “Full House” and also a former lover of Morissette.
Morissette has never clearly confirmed one way or the other if the song was definitely about Dave, and the turbulence that existed in the past between them, but the rampant speculation only helped to increase intrigue and album sales for what was already an extremely popular and successful mainstream debut album. With all of that in mind, it can easily be hypothesized that the song will feature prominently in the Broadway musical and whatever scenes lead into and follow will certainly be scrutinized in the same vein as the song’s meaning was on the album.
Aside from that particular riddle and controversy, the Broadway adaptation should be a natural step for Morissette if she is indeed planning on directly participating in the work herself. Throughout the approximate decade and a half since the release of “Jagged Little Pill,” she has done countless cameos in various forms of media, ranging from internet videos to the very popular comedy show on HBO, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” She was in the spotlight even before the album as a character on the popular Nickelodeon children’s show “You Can’t Do That on Television,” so another stage for Morissette to conquer seems more logical than risky for anyone involved.
To assume this Broadway musical will be as successful as the Billboard-topping “Jagged Little Pill” album is maybe too much of a guessing game at this point and will have to wait until 2014 when it is presented to the public for a more accurate gauge of how impactful the music will be in the second decade of the new millennium. But, I think many will be quite surprised if it is not indeed a smashing success.
By Michael Blain