Broadway in Cincinnati adds 'Jagged Little Pill' Alanis Morissette show

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Broadway in Cincinnati announced last week a change in its 2022-2023 season lineup. “Jagged Little Pill,” which features music from Alanis Morissette’s mammoth 1990s album, will replace “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” on the season schedule.

No word on why the change was made. Most of the previously announced tour dates for “Beautiful” appear to be intact. The show was extremely well-received when it appeared here in 2017.

Kathryn Gallagher is seen here as Bella in a particularly dramatic scene from "Jagged Little Pill," the Broadway show based on the 1990s album by Alanis Morissette. The show was recently added to the 2022-2023 Broadway in Cincinnati season.
Kathryn Gallagher is seen here as Bella in a particularly dramatic scene from "Jagged Little Pill," the Broadway show based on the 1990s album by Alanis Morissette. The show was recently added to the 2022-2023 Broadway in Cincinnati season.

But “Jagged Little Pill” would seem to be a fair trade. Directed by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus (“Waitress”) with a Tony-winning script by Diablo Cody (“Juno”), the show won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

The show will be at the Aronoff Center for one week only – March 28-April 2, 2023.

'Summer stock' revival

“Summer stock.” To theater lovers, the phrase has an irresistible glamor to it. Much of that comes from Hollywood’s romanticized portrayal of it, of course.

But in real life, there was much to love about summer stock theaters. Some had resident actors, so you saw the same folks in different shows all summer. Others featured touring shows with faded – or up-and-coming – movie stars. Sometimes the shows – often a different one every week – were performed under massive tents. Or in outdoor amphitheaters.

The one thing they had in common, of course, is that they took place during the summer. Cincinnati has had its share of summer stock over the years, from the Cincinnati Summer Playhouse, an in-the-round tent show located where Brentwood Shopping Center stands now – to outdoor musicals at Edgecliff College, using the old Emery Mansion as a backdrop. But those were long ago.

There have been more recent attempts to resurrect summer stock. There was CCM’s “Hot Summer Nights.” But that folded in 2002. The Showboat Majestic held on until 2013. But classic summer stock? It’s long gone.

The Carnegie opened its new summer stork series with "Into the Woods," featuring, from left, Tyler J. Martin, Jamal Stone and Sarah Jane Nelson. Later, two more shows will join the summer repertory, "Rent" and the world premiere of "George Remus: A New Musical."
The Carnegie opened its new summer stork series with "Into the Woods," featuring, from left, Tyler J. Martin, Jamal Stone and Sarah Jane Nelson. Later, two more shows will join the summer repertory, "Rent" and the world premiere of "George Remus: A New Musical."

Maggie Perrino, the theater director at the Carnegie in Covington, thought it was time to change all of that. Never mind that summer stock’s heyday was 50 years ago.

“I think it’s weird that an area that loves theater as much we do here doesn’t have a summer stock theater anymore,” said Perrino. “Somebody should do that.”

Perrino isn’t the type of producer to wait around for someone else to act on a good idea. So a few months ago, she announced auditions for a three-show summer season. Her idea was to have a company of local actors, with each of them performing in at least two of the three shows.

“Of course, part of the goal was to keep our theater busy during the summer,” said Perrino. “But we were also trying to figure out a way to give more actors a chance to work locally for a greater part of the summer.” The same goes for stage technicians and administrative personnel.

The response was even greater than Perrino had imagined. More than 250 performers showed up to try out for what would eventually be whittled down to a pool of 32 actors.

It’s not just the casting that is different about the Summer Theatre Series, as they’re calling it. Typically, a theater opens a show, performs it for two or three weeks and follows it up with another show. Not here.

The series opened “Into the Woods” on June 18. On July 16, “Rent” makes its debut. But “Into the Woods” will keep playing, as well. For instance, after “Rent” is performed July 16-17, “Into the Woods” reappears July 18-19. And so it continues until Aug. 13, when they add a third show – the world premiere of “George Remus: A New Musical” – into the mix.

"There’s nothing like this in town,” says scenic designer Tyler Gabbard, the one responsible for finding a way to create a master set that, with a few tweaks here and there, can quickly morph into something that looks completely different.

“I hope audiences enjoy this as much as I have,” he said. “Seeing the same actors working on a set that is slightly familiar but completely different is a lot of fun, I think.”

More important, he added, is that this Summer Theatre Series boosts the prospects of a return of a performance niche that had its heyday more than 50 years ago.

“The summer stock landscape nationwide has seen some loss during the past two years – and even more before that,” said Gabbard. “I think it’s reassuring to see this happening here in Cincinnati. It’s one of those things that helps build a healthy theater community. A community where actors and technicians are able to make a living.”

So here are the dates:

  • “Into the Woods,” through Aug. 27.

  • “Rent,” July 16-Aug. 26.

  • “George Remus: A New Musical,” Aug. 13-28.

You’ll have to go to the Carnegie website – thecarnegie.com – to negotiate the intricacies of the repertory schedule. If you prefer, you can call the box office at 859-957-1940. All performances take place at the Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: 'Jagged Little Pill' added to Broadway in Cincinnati