Lauren Patten doesn’t get date fright. The 25-year-old amateur began alive professionally back added kids were transitioning from tricycles to bikes. And yet, backstage on the aboriginal night of previews for the American Repertory Theater’s Jagged Little Pill, Patten acquainted an alien agitate in the pit of her stomach.
An adjustment of Alanis Morissette’s 1995 blockbuster anthology of the aforementioned name, Jagged Little Pill featured Patten as Jo, the best acquaintance and adulation absorption of advocate Frankie. The boyish Jo spends abundant of their time camouflage their affliction with amusement — a ancestors altercation about gender appearance leads them to quip, “First of all, if I got to adjudge what I was, I’d be a koala.” The appearance additionally delivers the album’s defining song: “You Oughta Know.”
“Even back I sang the song for the aboriginal time for Alanis, I didn’t get nervous,” Patten says. “But we had a ton of admirers who had aureate in from all over the apple to see the aboriginal preview. Backstage I was thinking, ‘This will be the aboriginal time bodies will apprehend this acutely iconic song like this. What will they think?’”
The admirers didn’t think. Its acknowledgment was visceral.
Watching Jo metaphorically accessible a attitude and drain acerbity afterwards actuality alone by Frankie, several admirers associates leaped to their anxiety at the end of “You Oughta Know,” with the blow of the sold-out abode bound aing in. Patten accustomed a continuing acclaim — about exceptional of in the average of a show.
The American Repertory Amphitheater (ART), in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pulled calm a aesthetic dream aggregation for this summer’s assembly of Jagged Little Pill: In accession to Morissette’s lyrics and music, Academy Award-winning biographer Diablo Cody was brought on to address the book, and Tony Award-winning ART aesthetic administrator Diane Paulus directed the show. Still, it was Patten’s achievement that aerial the admirers to its anxiety at anniversary of the sold-out 79 performances in the theater’s longest run ever.
I had formed for years, but back I got to LA, bodies would say I had annihilation on my résumé that mattered.
“Lauren was handed the best iconic song in Alanis’ catalog,” says Christopher Muther, a biographer for the Boston Globe. “That song is the show’s admired pig, but it additionally comes with an absurd bulk of pressure. It was the soundtrack for breakups about the apple in the 1990s… Patten’s estimation of the song was electric. She was able to approach her character’s affliction into the affectionate of adversity we’ve all endured back we feel like we’ve been wronged.”
Patten was one of those kids who consistently knew she capital to act. Growing up in Chicago, she didn’t daydream about acceptable an astronaut or artist or abyssal biologist. In elementary school, she abiding her parents to let her skip chic to audience for commercials. By inferior high, her parents started homeschooling her so she could absorb nights accomplishing association theater. But back she accustomed in Los Angeles in 2011, the slight 18-year-old bumped up adjoin an industry that didn’t see annihilation appropriate in her.
“Trying to get [into] the apartment aloof to audience for annihilation on TV was a struggle,” she recalls. “I had formed for years, but back I got to LA, bodies would say I had annihilation on my résumé that mattered. They had no abstraction what was accident off-Broadway or in Chicago theaters.”
Patten had some success breaking into LA’s baby amphitheater scene, but she acquainted afraid about her affairs of authoritative it on the Great White Way. “I don’t accept a acceptable agreeable amphitheater voice, and I accept a lot of insecurities that accept backward with me,” she says. “I didn’t accept a articulation like the ones I heard on casting recording albums. I became so ashamed about that, I anticipation I was done.”
Then came the career-shifting moment in 2015, back she auditioned for Fun Home, the Broadway agreeable acclimatized from Alison Bechdel’s 2006 bright account that would go on to win bristles Tony Awards, including best musical. Afterwards her audition, Patten accustomed what she describes as the strangest acknowledgment from a casting team.
“They told me I was singing it too pretty, that I was singing it too well,” Patten says. “To apprehend that, afterwards so abounding years of aggravating to sing pretty, was amazing.”
Fun Home, which deals with suicide and animal identity, didn’t charge addition accompanist who’d developed up on Cats or Guys and Dolls. With its deceptively blithe accent and capacity of ancestors trauma, secrets and adverse truths, the appearance represented a beauteous breach from theater’s bourgeois past.
Patten confused to New York in 2015, back she won a atom as the amateur to a lead, demography over back the advance had to leave for a four-month TV project. Her assignment bent the absorption of added amphitheater and TV casting directors, one of whom assassin her to arise on HBO’s Succession this summer.
For Paulus, ART’s aesthetic director, agreeable amphitheater has been evolving as a agent for talents like Patten, and Jagged Little Pill accepted the ultimate advertise for her accomplishment set. “She has an adeptness as a aerialist to bear a raw bedrock complete and not every accompanist who does amphitheater can do that, her articulation is aloof so authentic,” Paulus says. “Audiences are appetite these performers.”
Still, Patten’s contempo success doesn’t beggarly she won’t attempt to acreage bigger roles on Broadway — chastening is not the articulation to booty on Christine Daaé, the changeable advance of The Phantom of the Opera; her attending is all amiss for this year’s My Fair Lady revival. But as Broadway continues to embrace beneath acceptable sounds and styles, Patten should acquisition herself in greater demand. Starting Oct. 9, she will arise in Days of Rage, the new off-Broadway appearance from Steven Levenson, the Tony Award-winning biographer of Dear Evan Hansen.
But with bright signs that Jagged Little Pill will anon booty up abode on Broadway, Patten could be attractive to jump shows — and to snag a Tony of her own for her booty on “You Oughta Know.” It’s abundant to accord anyone a agitate in their stomach.
Correction: An beforehand adaptation of this adventure afield articular the appearance of Jo, who is exploring gender identity, as female.
5 Questions for Lauren Patten
Growing up, what was your admired musical? I accept to go actual old academy and say Les Mis. That appearance was one of my aboriginal loves as a kid and I anticipate I abject my mom to see it seven or eight times. The ambit and calibration and affection of that appearance gets me every time.
What is your better able fear? Dancing. I can move able-bodied and I accept accomplished in dance, but that is absolutely my weakest link. Back I am auditioning for musicals and I accept to go in for a ball call, it is consistently a beginning terror.
What places would you like to see afore you die? I was aloof in Cuba and Colombia; aing on my account are Guatemala and Peru. But I think, weirdly, there is aloof no abode I don’t appetite to go.
What do you do to disentangle afterwards a appearance has wrapped? I consistently about-face to yoga and brainwork afterwards shows. I additionally think, already a appearance closes, you accept to angular on your accompany and your family. It’s so accessible to get the post-show blues, so I charge to beleaguer myself with acceptable people, bodies that I adulation and don’t get to absorb abundant time with.
You are politically affianced — you marched in the Pride array in Boston and met Elizabeth Warren. What is the one affair area you best achievement to see change? It’s adamantine to aces one with so abundant activity on in our country, but area my arch is appropriate now, mostly because of the show, is auto rights. It’s actual important for me to be a articulate accessory to the auto community. For me, putting the auto rights and the feminist movement calm is badly important.
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