THE problem of the most jukebox musicals, isn't the juke, it's the box. The tunes are fine, but they rarely match the container that someone is trying to join them into.

How could they? Commercial pop and musical theater have different kinds of tales to tell and different tools for telling them.

So it's easy to imagine all the ways ''Jagged Little Pill'' could have gone wrong.

Based on material from Alanis Morisette's 1995 megahit album and several of its follow-ups, it could have wound up in a bio-musical straitjacket or with a story either too light for the song's furious intelligence or too broad for Broadway.

When I saw ''Jagged Little Pill'' last year at the American Repertory Theater at Cambridge, Mass I worried that it was falling into the ''too broad'' category.

The script by the ''Juno'' screenwriter Diablo Cody deliberately aimed to incorporate as many pressing concerns as it could. Rape culture, racism, addiction, adoption, homophobia, global warming, overparenting, underparenting were but few of the themes dramatized or sometimes literally put on placards.

Fair enough. we want certain musicals to do serious work. But in the show's first incarnation it was often difficult to discern the central story in a plot so tangled with issues that it came to seem like a cantata of discontent.

The great news for ''Jagged Little Pill,'' and for Broadway audience is that its creative team, led by the director Diane Paulus, did more than just fiddle with a show that, though blurry, was already entertaining.

The overhauled version that opened in last December at the Broadhurst Theater is fully in focus : clear in its priorities, rich in character, sincere without syrup, rousing and real.

It easily clears the low bar of jukebox success to stand alongside the dark original musicals that have sustained the best hopes of Broadway in recent years.

And despite its pre-existing songs - beautifully arranged for the stage by Tom Kitt - it certainly is original. At the center of Cody's story is a wealthy Connecticut family aptly named Healy : They have a lot of healing to do.

The serving of the publishing, continues. The World Students Society thanks author, Jesse Green.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!