You Learn

Bethesda Little Theatre presents an original musical revue featuring songs from all the Broadway shows you’ve been wishing you could see in one night but couldn’t… until now. Come From Away, Six, Dear Evan Hansen, Chicago, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Company, Hadestown, Hamilton, and more. We even have some side trips to some of the wonderful music clubs Times Square has to offer. Don’t miss your chance to see numbers from some of the hottest shows on Times Square! A Night Out on Times Square, runs June 10, 11, 12 and 17, 18, 19 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center. (For tickets and more information click here: or call 202-796-3431.)

In our blog series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers to discuss a sampling of the songs they’ll be presenting; today we’re going to explore how the ladies are doing with their take on “You Learn” from Jagged Little Pill featuring the songs of Grammy winner Alanis Morissette.

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To what extent was this song or Alanis Morissette in general a part of your childhood / teenage angst years?

Editor’s Note: Everyone had some teenage angst, right? Seems like Alanis Morissette didn’t make it into our cast’s teenage angst CD collection – what was in yours??

Kathleen: This song in particular was not a part of my teenage years, but I loved Alanis’ sound growing up. My favorite song was always “You Oughta Know” as I felt her pain and angst. 

Brett: I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard this song until we started learning it for the show! Alanis was not part of my angsty listening rotation.

Marissa: I definitely listened to Alanis Morissette and knew this was her song but I don’t remember having her on repeat at any point, though I did end up learning a lot of her lyrics.

Casting the number

This song covers a lot of how we experience life (love, laugh, cry, choke, bleed) – how does it do this so effectively? Or doesn’t it?

Alicia: The choreography is where a lot of this comes through.  Lauren has done a great job of illustrating the “angsty-ness” through the dance and uses the dance to interpret the love, laugh, cry, choke, bleed. 

Lauren: I think this song really captures how it feels to be human; we’ve all experienced those emotions and you do learn. For me, this song feels more poignant after the last couple of years with the pandemic. So much life happened–and didn’t happen– and I think this song captures those feelings well. 

Marissa: I think one of the things that’s so interesting about this song musically is that laundry list of emotions / verbs are all sung the same way. That repetition really hammers home the fact that through it all – good, bad, even down to the choices you make – the one constant is that you learn from everything.

Kathleen: I feel it takes you through the highs and lows of life. It portrays the hardships yet reminds you that there is a lesson somewhere in all the chaos. 

Brett: This song has such simple lyrics, but they really do capture a lot of the beauty and pain of life. We learn from each experience we have and the music brings out the bittersweetness of that.

Kathleen, Marissa, and Lauren

How does the choreography play into the story this song is telling?

Editor’s Note: Lucky for us, we get to hear from the choreographer herself! Not only to we get the benefit of her insights here, you will get a chance to see her bring her own choreography to life in the show!

Lauren: Well, I tried to choreograph moves that show life is a group event and that the emotions the song talks about are ones that we can all relate to. You’re not alone when you feel like you’re living and learning–even when life gets hard and isn’t going the way you want it to. I hope the choreography enhances the raw emotions discussed in the song.

Marissa: Oh man. Lauren has done such a tremendous job with the choreography. She has made such fluid and beautiful sequences that the depth of the message really comes through. I just hope we can do it justice!

Alicia: The modern dance choreography that Lauren developed helps to tell the story. At times we’re dancing together and at times we’re dancing separate, but it comes together beautifully to tell the story. 

Kathleen: The choreography is set up so that not only do you hear the story telling but you feel it. It aligns with the build up and takes you on the journey. 

Brett: Lauren’s choreography is so beautiful and evocative. She’s captured the emotions behind every line with grace and subtlety.

Brett and Alicia

What’s the hardest part about learning this number?

Brett: The lyrics are repetitive but a little different every time, which can be a challenge to memorize! 

Marissa: Remembering who is singing when and which chairs to move!

Kathleen: I found the hardest part to be learning the song in parts. I’ve come to love this song and I have to stop myself from singing lines that are not assigned to me. 

Alicia: The hardest part about learning this number for me is the music.  It’s such a recognizable song – everyone knows the words and the melody so we all want to make sure we do it justice.  Nailing the harmonies and our respective solo lines is where I’m focusing as we get down to the wire.

Lauren: I think the music has been a hard part to learn for this number. This is such a well-known song so we have how we think it should sound in our head, which isn’t quite what this arrangement is calling for! Also, as the choreographer, I really hope the moves aren’t too hard to learn!

Editor’s Note: Sounds like the verdict is really that it’s the music so Lauren is off the hook!

Kathleen, Lauren, Alicia, and Marissa rehearsing with Jeff

Anything else to add?

Kathleen: I’ve enjoyed working with this team of lovely women and look forward to seeing it all come together. 

Brett: I love working on this song with these incredible women. They make it easy to play old friends, even though some of us just met a few months ago!

Marissa: The people! Such a wonderful group of strong women to make great music and dance together!!

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