The national touring company of the Alanis Morissette musical Jagged Little Pill is using their platform to stand with trans people nationwide, in the face of a disturbing trend of anti-trans legislation in states across the country. With the show currently at Washington, D.C.'s National Theatre (through March 26), the company, led by Jena VanElslander, traveled to the Capitol Building March 21 to protest.
"As a largely queer company in a show tackling a broad variety of issues, we decided to use our platform to raise awareness and stand in solidarity with the trans kids across our nation facing these inhuman lawmakers' actions," writes the company in a collective mission statement. "We want these lawmakers to see the faces of the people this affects, and to know that we will not stand by while this happens. We want the people who love our show and love our artistry to stand with us in support. To the people who want to 'eradicate' us, we ask the question: are we really what you are so afraid of?"
"To try and eradicate trans people is to try and eradicate freedom of expression," adds Jade McLeod, starring as Jo. "They should know that we will not go quietly."
Among the legislation being protested are measures banning gender-affirming care for trans youth, which have passed in at least seven states and are moving towards being enacted in 16 others. A Tennessee bill has also banned drag performances, which has the potential to affect trans and gender non-conforming drag artists.
See more photos of the company's demonstration below:
The North American tour of the Tony-nominated musical Jagged Little Pill officially opened in Las Vegas at The Smith Center September 8, 2022.
Heidi Blickenstaff, who played Mary Jane Healy when the musical reopened on Broadway following the pandemic, reprises the role in the tour. Blickenstaff is joined by Lauren Chanel as Frankie Healy, Chris Hoch as Steve Healy, Dillon Klena as Nick Healy, Jade McLeod as Jo, and Allison Sheppard as Bella.
The ensemble includes Lee H. Alexander, Delaney Brown, Justin Brown, Rishi Golani, Jason Goldston, Cydney Kutcipal, Jordan Leigh McCaskill, Alana Pollard, Carmella Taitt, Daniel Thimm, Kei Tsuruharatani, Jena VanElslander, and Bligh Voth. Maya J. Christian, Claire Crause, Sean Doherty, Sophie Lee Morris, and Charles P. Way are the swings.
Jagged Little Pill has a book by Diablo Cody and songs by Alanis Morisette, from her 1995 album. The work opened on Broadway December 5, 2019, after beginning previews November 3. While sidelined during the Broadway shutdown, the production was nominated for 15 2020 Tony Awards, winning Best Book of a Musical for Cody and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for Lauren Patten.
The musical reopened in October 2021 following the shutdown and closed December 17, 2021. The closing followed a number of COVID-related performance cancellations and postponements.
Visit JaggedLittlePill.com for the full itinerary.