Alanis Morissette brings good advice and hit songs to Vegas stage
Before this year, Alanis Morissette hadn’t released an album or toured extensively since 2012, but she hasn’t been missing in action. The Canadian singer-songwriter continued to play shows, had a second child and started a podcast, Conversation with Alanis Morissette, which reflects and espouses her humanistic, self-care lifestyle. She also enjoyed renewed appreciation of her breakthrough 1995 album Jagged Little Pill during the 20th anniversary of its release. By that time, she was already working with producers adapting the album’s songs for the stage.
Jagged Little Pill, the musical, debuted May 5 at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., to critical acclaim. Tony Award-winning music supervisor Tom Kitt (American Idiot) worked with Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody to weave songs released when Morissette was 21 into a narrative relevant for today. Director Diane Paulus (Waitress) signed on in 2015, and proposed incorporating a Greek chorus that would reflect the consciences of both characters and society. The production took shape, and Morissette had a hands-on role in its creative development.
Morissette kicked off her 2018 tour with six dates in January, performing for audiences that include a new generation of feminist fans, some of whom formed their own bands and consider Alanis a seminal inspiration. For them, “You Oughta Know” has become an anthem, and the confessions, observations and experiences of a 21-year-old woman in the ’90s are very much relevant in the #metoo era. If she had any trouble at all filling seats in venues five years ago after the release of her last studio album, Havoc and Bright Lights, her newfound iconic status and success of the musical assures Morissette will have maximum attendance at upcoming shows.
Morissette draws most of her set list from Jagged Little Pill, the album. Where much of that album’s lyrical content and music was considered trend chasing at the time, Morissette’s messages have endured. She was writing from the point of view of a singer who discovered her talent early on and was breaking free of the dance-pop sound that had made her a star in Canada. She became a star in the U.S. after “You Oughta Know” was picked up by influential radio station KROQ, but the album’s apparent anger was tempered with philosophical gems such as “You Learn” and “Ironic.”
A more spiritual Morissette would walk a career path through 1998’s Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie and 2002’s Under Rug Swept. She teaches, gives keynote talks, finished a new record and is writing a book. She’s touring through September, ending with a return to Las Vegas and The Pearl Concert Theater on Sept. 29. Jagged Little Pill runs through July 15, and could very well be on Broadway with actress Idina Menzel in the lead by the time Morissette sings the chorus of “Thank U” at her second Vegas show. Wherever the journey leads her after the tour, she’ll continue to share own blend of humanist, or “wholeness-ist” views and attitudes with a world that’s finally catching up with her.
The Pearl at Palms, 8 p.m. June 22, starting at $59 plus tax and fee. 702.944.3200