“The Album Project: Jagged Little Pill – Nearly Naked Theatre

This review aired on KBAQ September 8, 2014


Nearly Naked Theatre, Hardes Theatre at Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

“The Album Project: Jagged Little Pill” is a most unique theatrical event.  Leave it to Nearly Naked Theatre to present such a different theatrical event to Valley audiences.  The production is a concert presentation of the 14 songs from Alanis Morissette’s famous album that sold over 33 million copies worldwide.

The recording is a testament to a woman that uses a soft-rock voice to tackle the emotional wreckage of her young life.  The message moved many so Kate Sullivan Gibbens and Jonah Platt conceived this version which debuted in Los Angeles.  It has been brought to Phoenix by Nearly Naked Theatre in the original L.A. production.  The show’s success is spawning new companies as people who love the recording are anxious to see it performed.

As a person who hadn’t heard of the album, “Jagged Little Pill” meant little to me.  I must admit to not liking rock music but the work deserves credit because it sounds interesting and keeps you engrossed by the impressively staged production that ropes you into the poignant story it tells.  It’s encouraging to meet Mary Jane, a woman lost within her life who finds meaning and purpose as the songs progress.  By the end, Mary Jane seems to have her life back on track.  “Jagged Little Pill” touches many fascinating emotional places in Mary Jane’s existence.

The production is alive and the eight performers are committed to every word of every song.  Gibbens has crafted a work of power and simplicity, but it is filled with honest reality.  Mary Jane’s life has gone astray but, as the songs evolve, she overcomes the many setbacks she confronts to getting her life back on track.

Caitlin Ary is a dynamic Mary Jane and the rest of the talented cast compliments Mary Jane’s struggles as they help her see the issues she must resolve so she can move on with her life.  Gibbens stages the work with sensitivity so you always know where the lead character is going and where she’s been.

“The Album Project: Jagged Little Pill” is unlike anything I have previously seen on stage.  No, it’s not my cup of tea, but it tackles a fascinating subject in a very theatrical way.  It’s only here through Sunday, September 14, so if you are familiar with this album, the show is for you.  For tickets, call the Phoenix Theatre box office at 602-254-2151 or order online at www.nearlynakedtheatre.org.

Grade: B