Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” stands as one of the most successful and best-selling albums to date. But now the question is whether it will translate to the musical theater stage.
It’s something Vivek Tiwary is anxious to answer after assembling a team of renowned artists to turn the seminal collection of alt-rock anthems into a theatrical performance. The award-winning producer, who has worked with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Brittany Spears, will talk about this ambitious venture during his Oct. 18 visit with students in Westphal College, which will include a public discussion with Karen Curry, a veteran journalist and instructor in Westphal’s Television Management Department.
Slated to open at Cambridge’s American Repertory Theater in May 2018, the musical will touch on issues of race, gender identity and the complexities of family dynamics through the lens of a modern, multigenerational family. Its plot will be driven musically and thematically by Morissette’s record, which won five Grammy awards in 1995, including album of the year, selling more than 33 million copies worldwide.
This is the second time Tiwary has adapted a commercially successful album as a musical. He produced “American Idiot” a musical based on the Green Day album of the same name, which won a number of Tony Awards and was nominated for Best Musical during its run on Broadway.
To bring “Jagged Little Pill” together, Tiwary is assembling a team of writing and musical heavy hitters, including the writer of “Juno,” Diablo Cody; one of Beyoncé’s choreographers, Sidi Larbi Charkaoui; Tony Award-winning director of “Pippin,” “Finding Neverland,” and “Waitress,” Diane Paulus; and musical director Tom Kitt, who worked with Tiwary on “American Idiot” and won a Pulitzer for Drama for the rock musical “Next to Normal.” Although no casting has been announced, Award-winning musical theater actress and singer Idina Menzel has taken part in readings of “Jagged Little Pill” before it hits the stage in full form.
“Vivek has a special ability to bring talented people together to produce something truly special. We’ve seen it with his productions of ‘Raisin in the Sun,’ ‘Addams Family,’ and, most recently, ‘American Idiot’” said Curry, who also serves as an instruct in Westphal College. “His work to translate an iconic album like ‘Jagged Little Pill’ is sure to be phenomenal as well. He appreciates the work put in by our students at Drexel who are also undertaking ambitious projects and pushing through challenges to make them as successful as possible. These interactions are the valuable learning opportunities that Drexel offers its students.”
Tiwary also paid Drexel a visit three years ago to discuss his graphic novel “The Fifth Beatle” based on the life of Brian Epstein, one of the early managers of the Beatles. He returns to connect with Drexel’s media arts and design students to walk through his latest undertaking and encourage them in their creative pursuits.
“I love speaking to college students and spreading Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein’s message that no dream is too impossible,” Tiwary told the News Blog prior to his upcoming visit. “It’s an especially poignant message for the students at Drexel– where so many unique and wonderful opportunities are provided, to help them achieve their wildest dreams.”
Curry sees the visit and discussion as a chance for students to better understand both the art and business of commercial theatrical production. Tiwary brings deep background in both areas, as CEO and President of Tiwary Entertainment
Group Ltd. He also serves on the board of directors for Valiant Entertainment, a multi-platform company that boasts the third largest universe of comic book characters with a 5-film deal with Sony Pictures.
“It’s important for our students to understand how to develop a vision, as well as building the foundation to make it scalable for success,” Curry said. “Vivek is one of the best people in the business to teach that lesson, through telling his story of success.”
Prior to founding TEG and online music education/empowerment company StarPolish, Tiwary held a number of major label music-industry positions and has worked with artists covering the musical spectrum, including Spears and Springsteen. He is also a co-founder of Musicians on Call, a nonprofit that brings music to hospital patients.
Tiwary’s discussion with Curry will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the URBN Annex Screening Room. It is free and open to the public. Following the event Tiwary will be sticking around to sign copies of his New York Times best-seller “The Fifth Beatle.”
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