Jagged Little Pill, Addressing Controversy Over Gender Identity Depiction, Hires Director of People & Culture

Broadway News   Jagged Little Pill, Addressing Controversy Over Gender Identity Depiction, Hires Director of People & Culture
 
The producers of the Alanis Morissette musical have issued a statement and apology that outlines some of the initial steps they will take.
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Jagged Little Pill at the Broadhurst Theatre Marc J. Franklin

The producers of Jagged Little Pill—Vivek J. Tiwary, Arvind Ethan David, and Eva Price—have hired Colette Luckie as the director of people and culture. In the newly formed position, Luckie will provide training and advocacy resources to everyone involved in the production. The move comes after individuals, including theatre artists and activists, called out discrepancies regarding the gender identity of the character Jo (played by cis performer Lauren Patten, who earned a Best Featured Actress in a Musical Tony nomination). The movement gained support over social media, including from performers attached to the show who identify as trans or non-binary.

In April, the production wrote in a Twitter thread that "Jo wasn’t written as non-binary," a sentiment echoed by creatives during a series of panel conversations but contradicted past statements and depictions of the character on Broadway and in its American Repertory Theater world premiere. "That discounted and dismissed what people saw and felt in this character’s journey. We should not have done that," the producers say five months later. "We should have, instead, engaged in an open discussion about nuance and gender spectrum."

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Arvind Ethan David, Eva Price, and Vivek J. Tiwary Joseph Marzullo/WENN

In addition to hiring Luckie, the producers have committed to: hiring a new dramaturgical team to "revisit and deepen" book writer Diablo Cody's script, auditioning performers for the role of Jo who are on (or have completed) a gender expression journey themselves, and partnering with The Trevor Project and Trans Lifeline (starting with an initial donation).

The musical, directed by Diane Paulus and featuring Alanis Morissette's discography, will resume performances October 21 to the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway. Casting has yet to be confirmed for the show’s return, including for the role of Jo.

Read the full statement here.

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