Alumnus John Cardoza on Being Cast in the New Musical 'Jagged Little Pill'

John Cardoza

John Cardoza

Class of 2016 B.F.A., Musical Theater

Alumnus John Cardoza (B.F.A. '16, musical theater) writes about his experience as a cast member of Jagged Little Pill, the new musical inspired by Alanis Morissette’s album of the same name, and what it’s like to participate in the development of a new work.

June 28, 2018

Cambridge, Massachusetts

I am currently in the cast of Jagged Little Pill, the musical based on the Alanis Morissette album by the same name, at the American Repertory Theater (ART) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While a student in Boston, I was fortunate enough to attend many shows at the ART, and I am honored to return to this amazing theater, and to Boston, as a working professional.

Jagged Little Pill is making its world premiere here at the ART, following several readings and workshops in New York City. Being a part of the development of a new work like Jagged Little Pill is a dream for any actor or creative mind, as you get to witness and participate in the show’s evolution as it’s built from the ground up.

This is the second original musical I’ve worked on since graduating from the Conservatory, the first being October Sky at the Old Globe in San Diego. New works are my favorite kind of project to be a part of, as they work you to your full capacity as an actor, intellectual, musician, and athlete.

As a member of the chorus, I am presented as an omnipresent conscience which occasionally materializes into the people and events around the principal characters—to either encourage or challenge the decisions they make. I also cover two roles in the show, one of which I have been fortunate enough to perform several times during our run.

The show is helmed by ART’s Artistic Director Diane Paulus, with music by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard, musical arrangements by Tom Kitt, music direction by Bryan Perri, choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, and book by Academy Award–winning screenwriter Diablo Cody.

The cast features a diversely talented ensemble, led by Boston Conservatory alumna Ebony Williams (B.F.A. '05, contemporary dance), our incredible dance captain. To connect and work with alumni over the years has been so much fun. The Conservatory has built a truly supportive and closely knit network within the industry, in New York, and beyond. The outpouring of support from Conservatory students and faculty during the run here has been incredible.

The Conservatory’s musical theater program prepared me well for the mental tasks of learning and retaining music, choreography, and script changes while giving these developmental characters the specificity and attention needed to become the nuanced characters you see on stage in the show’s current form. During the preview process for a show like this, it is protocol that changes made to the music, staging, and script are to be implemented in the performance that same night, and so proficiency in all areas is essential.

I am so proud to be a a part of this production, and to represent the Conservatory. Jagged Little Pill runs through July 15, 2018.