It became the soundtrack for a generation of young women. A mix of anger, angst, heartache, and hope, the 1995 alternative rock album “Jagged Little Pill” was both a defining moment in pop music and a runaway success. It launched its creator, Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette, to stardom. This month, a musical adaptation inspired by the album and some of Morissette’s other work is premiering at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.).Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director Diane Paulus will helm the production about a multigenerational family. Writer and producer Diablo Cody, who won an Academy Award for best original screenplay for the 2007 film “Juno,” wrote the show’s book and also a song for the score. In the personal backstory below, Cody reflects on her deep early connections to the formative album, and on how she crafted a narrative from its iconic songs.I was 16 years old the first time I heard the voice of Alanis Morissette. Well, technically that isn’t true — I grew up watching “You Can’t Do That on Television,” the Canadian kiddie show in which a young Alanis starred. But when I say “the voice of Alanis Morissette,” I’m not referring to the literal vibrations created by her laryngeal folds. I’m talking about the powerful and primal flow of essential Alanis-ness that is her legendary album “Jagged Little Pill.”This was not just a collection of songs, you understand. This was a seismic event that shifted the plates of pop culture and redefined irony for a generation. Morissette, a rock star, was more than a voice. She was a Voice.It was 1995, and I was hanging out in my bedroom in Lemont, Ill., a small town with nine churches and zero bookstores. I was listening to Q101, “Chicago’s Rock Alternative,” like I did every day after school. Though the grunge trend had expired like a tub of old yogurt, rock radio was still dominated by growling, lank-haired dudes with low-slung guitars and big muff distortion pedals. Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder had changed the game by championing feminist causes, but the rock scene in general still felt like the same old macho stance it had been forever. The “girl bands” that did get airplay at the time were all punk bravado and defiance — very necessary, but not always relatable to me as a vulnerable and confused Catholic girl who had so many feelings and was often afraid to express them. There was an Alanis-shaped hole in my heart; I just didn’t know it yet.So there I was, in my bedroom, flipping through Sassy magazine and painting my nails with Wite-Out as I listened to the radio. As the song ended — let’s say it was “Cumbersome” by Seven Mary Three — the DJ broke in, sounding way more enthusiastic than usual. “I am so psyched to play this next song,” the DJ said. Again, this type of editorializing was rare on Q101, a big corporate radio station. “It’s from a new singer named Alanis Morissette, and it’s going to blow your mind. Here’s ‘You Oughta Know.’ ”,Curiosity piqued, I twisted the volume knob on my Sony boombox. A trembling voice filled the room — not just a voice, but a Voice: Alanis’ brave, forceful, naked Voice revealing itself for the first time. It was an immediate shock to the system. After a parade of grunge singers cocooning themselves in flannel and mumbling purposely vague lyrics, here, at last, was someone ready to expose her soul.And “You Oughta Know” was just the beginning — the beginning of the beginning. As we would soon discover, there was so much more to this artist than just spite and rage. On “Jagged Little Pill” she revealed herself to be tender, spiritual, shameless, kindhearted, eternally questioning, and utterly assured all at once. Shockingly, Alanis was only 19 years old when she wrote these songs with producer Glen Ballard — just a skip ahead of me, agewise, but miles beyond in terms of artistic maturity.Flash-forward 23 years later: Many other seminal ’90s albums feel preserved in amber: beloved, certainly, but with their vitality confined to the era. But “Jagged Little Pill” somehow is more relevant than ever. It’s an album that tells us to wake up, “swallow it down,” and confront our fears. Most popular music encourages the pursuit of pleasure; “Jagged Little Pill” actually recommends discomfort. These songs suggest that we subject ourselves to that which hurts (and ultimately heals), that we debride our deepest wounds, even though the process itself can be excruciating. This type of therapeutic instruction continues to be a theme in Alanis’ music to this day, and yet somehow her songs never feel gloomy or pedantic. Actually, they feel euphoric. How?! It’s a miracle that Alanis performs over and over. No wonder Kevin Smith cast her as God in “Dogma.”“Jagged Little Pill” was the soundtrack to my 17th summer and has become even more meaningful to me as I head into my 41st. Back in 1995, I never could have imagined I’d someday be tasked with creating a narrative around Alanis’ incredible catalog of songs. Like the music itself, the job has been challenging bliss. Working on this show, I am often struck by how inherently theatrical the music is, even before it’s been rearranged for the theater. The romance, laughter, tears, sex, and loss are already there, embroidered into the lyrics and melodies. I am incredibly proud of my role as translator and midwife in this production. If I’m lucky, I’ll make one of my heroes proud in the process.Diablo Cody is the writer of the book for the musical “Jagged Little Pill.” Her work includes “Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper,” “Juno” (Academy Award, BAFTA Award), “United States of Tara,” “Jennifer’s Body,” “Young Adult,” and “Tully.”This piece was written by Diablo Cody for the American Repertory Theater’s Guide and reprinted with permission.“Jagged Little Pill” opens in previews at the A.R.T. on May 5.
Christophe Soumillon will be unable to ride Tarnawa in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf after twice testing positive for Covid-19 – and will be replaced by Colin Keane.Trainer Dermot Weld confirmed both Soumillon’s positive tests and that dual Irish champion Keane will therefore take the ride on the Aga Khan’s four-year-old filly in Saturday’s Grade One race at Keeneland.- Advertisement – “Unfortunately, he is positive for Covid-19,” said Weld.“He was tested twice and came up positive both times. So Colin Keane will deputise.”Soumillon had ridden Tarnawa to back-to-back Group One victories in both the Prix de l’Opera and Prix Vermeille at ParisLongchamp over the past two months.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Keane, who has not previously ridden her, is at the Breeders’ Cup to partner Siskin in the Mile – having this week claimed his second Irish title to add to his 2017 success.Tarnawa is currently second-favourite, behind Aidan O’Brien’s multiple Group One-winning mare Magical, for the 12-furlong Turf.
Hollywood actor Julia Roberts is represented by the same agency as Leicester City’s James Maddison, while Samuel L Jackson’s representatives – ICM Partners – has also just bought into a football agencyOscar winner Julia Roberts and England footballer James Maddison may seem unlikely ‘team-mates’.But the major talent-spotters in the United States are getting increasingly involved in the football agency business – bringing actors and athletes under the same umbrella.- Advertisement – “We are aiming for a system of balanced and reasonable regulation, instead of the law of the jungle currently in place, with conflicts of interests rife and exorbitant ‘commissions’ being earned left and right,” it said.Given that description, the American agencies who look after the world’s biggest movie stars – with their own corporate image to protect – might want to avoid what appears to be a wild-west environment.The truth is, they are not.Last year, the Creative Artists Agency bought Base Soccer, marrying the organisations which look after the careers, among others, of Hollywood star Roberts and Leicester forward Maddison. On 8 October, another American talent agency – ICM Partners – bought Stellar in an even bigger, multi-million dollar deal.ICM looks after the careers of stars such as Samuel L Jackson and Ellen DeGeneres. Stellar – Jonathan Barnett’s agency – negotiated Gareth Bale’s return to Tottenham from Real Madrid.“We are very familiar with negativity towards [football] agents,” says ICM chief executive Chris Silbermann. “I understand the perception and I get it that people see agents making a lot of money and some in the sport complaining about it. It is a rough-and-tumble business but I am comfortable with the reputations of the people I am dealing with.”Rather than the stereotypical view of agents merely pushing clients towards transfers from which they profit, Silbermann says the reality of what organisations such as his offer is vastly different.“We understand the power of celebrity and what to do with it,” Silbermann says. “The natural extension is to work with athletes because they are global icons in the way they have never been in the past. “Agencies that represent global icons at scale don’t exist anywhere else. We can open doors.”Silbermann has never met Bale. Barnett will continue to provide the football expertise and guide the careers of the Welshman and Stellar’s other clients, including Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish and Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.“My job is to make sure a player retires with enough money to know if they carry on working, it is because they want to, not because they have to,” says Barnett.“We spend a fortune helping these guys get to where they need to be. We have a full staff of social media people because we don’t want them just going off and doing it on their own.”Barnett says he would not engage in some of the tactics rival agencies employ in an effort to get their clients a better deal, but argues “as long as it is legal and ethical it is fine”.He does feel there are problems the industry needs to address, and is particularly unhappy about the number of players now being looked after by relatives.Barnett has been frustrated by Fifa’s approach too. In January, he joined Mendes and Mino Raiola – who represents Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba – at an agents’ conference to discuss the situation.On Mendes, he says: “He has done a fantastic job for Wolves, and in other areas he has done brilliantly also.”So far, there have been no talks over reform. On Thursday, Fifa outlined its proposals, which include commission being capped at 3% of a players’ salary.Barnett is unimpressed. He believes Fifa is trying to gain positive publicity by unfairly striking out at an easy target, and unless it changes its approach a court case is looming.“I would love myself and a couple of agents to sit down face to face with Fifa with a blank sheet of paper,” he says. “I am sure we can do something really spectacular that would help everybody.”– Advertisement – In 2018, the Football League investigated Mendes’ relationship with Wolves and said it complied with their regulations.Elsewhere in the industry, though, there are widespread allegations of malpractice.Fifa, the sport’s world governing body, has vowed to step in and regulate – saying it wants to “eliminate or at least reduce the abusive and excessive practices” in football. – Advertisement – The work of football agents remains a mystery to most, but their reason for being is obvious – in June, the Football Association revealed Premier League clubs had paid £263.3m to agents in the year from 1 February 2019.With such huge amounts of money has come increased scrutiny and significant questions.For instance, around the role of Jorge Mendes in Republic of Ireland defender Matt Doherty’s move from Wolves to Tottenham for £15m in August. Mendes is Doherty’s agent. And the agent of both clubs’ managers – Jose Mourinho and Nuno Espirito Santo. Wolves’ owners Fosun, meanwhile, have a 20% stake in Mendes’ world-renowned Gestifute agency.- Advertisement –