Local Rising Star in Jagged Little Pill

jagged little pill

Rising Star:
Spring’s Liesie Kelly Hits the Road in National Tour of Jagged Little Pill


jagged little pill

Liesie Kelly is excited. But also reflective. The 20-year-old Spring native and student at the Boston
Conservatory just booked a role in the ensemble of the national tour of Jagged Little Pill, a musical
about family, love and how the imperfect can be perfect after all, backed with the songs of Alanis
Morissette and a book by Diablo Cody.

“It’s my first national tour and I am overjoyed,” Kelly, who uses the pronouns they, them and their, said.
“It comes with mixed emotions, leaving school for a year when I’ve settled in and made such good
friends in Boston. But I’m so excited to be included in this show and perform eight shows a week in
different cities and meet new friends.”

Kelly’s optimism, however, overshadows her concerns. She discussed the tour opportunity with the
head of her program, and worked out a plan to where she can do the show and still graduate on time as
a member of the Class of 2025. In many ways, Kelly’s been getting ready for a moment like this their
whole life.

They started performing as a dancer when they were five and living in Atlanta. Moving to Houston, Kelly
began performing with Houston Family Arts Center (now Stageworks) and HITS, where she was in the
ensemble of the musical Legally Blonde at Miller Outdoor Theatre as a sixth grader.

“Then I started training at TUTS’ Humphreys School of Musical Theatre,” they said. “My first show there
was The Music Man. That was in the 2014-2015 season. I did four more shows with TUTS.”
So, when Kelly comes to town with Pill, performing on the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts Stage, it
will feel very much like a homecoming.

“It’s really, really special,” they said. “What I learned at TUTS was how to be a professional. I mean, I was
expected to be prepared, to do this work on a high level. And to be performing with people from New
York or Los Angeles, and being just an arm’s length away from them on stage was a great way to learn
how to act in a professional space.”

That training would come in handy, especially as she was auditioning for spots in college musical theater
programs, and in her conservatory work.

“I took so much knowledge from TUTS with me to school,” Kelly said. “About the rehearsal space. About
what it’s was like to learn a show in four weeks. It was so valuable.”

While Jagged Little Pill is her first national tour, it’s not the only professional part she’s had as a college
student. Back in May, she made her debut with Boston’s SpeakEasy Stage, playing Emma in the musical
The Prom, about a gay teenager who wants to bring her girlfriend to the school prom and finds herself
facing a host of obstacles.

For Kelly, who identifies as queen, the show was deeply personal.

“It was an incredible, incredible opportunity,” they said. “Getting to essentially play myself on stage
every night was so special in a way I can’t describe. And I met kids who were inspired by my character. It
just shows that representation is so important.”

When the curtain came down on The Prom in June, Kelly found themselves with only a week-long break
before heading to New York to rehearse for Jagged Little Pill. She’d auditioned for the show in 2022,
during the spring of her freshman year. She made it all the way through final rounds but wasn’t cast.

Then, during her run in The Prom, her agent called to ask if she was still interested in the show.
“I was performing The Prom and I had to relearn all the material for Jagged Little Pill,” they laughed.
“And when my agent called me and said I had it, it was such a surreal moment. I FaceTimed my mom!”
Growing up, Kelly said Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album was a constant soundtrack to their
childhood, and she feels the arrangements in the stage show capture the raw angst of Morrisette’s

“There’s also queer representation in it, and I really think it’s a show everyone can relate to and walk
away seeing themselves. That’s really special,” they said.

Kelly joins the show in Denver, with her first performance on August 15. The show runs in Houston
August 29 through September 10.

“I think being back in Houston is going to be really emotional,” Kelly said. “I’m such a different person
now, and being on that same stage where I did A Christmas Story when I was 12 and looking up at those
stars on the ceiling…” they pause. “That’s incredible.”

NOTE: Jagged Little Pill is recommended for ages 14 and up.

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Book Bites Mar 24

Looking for some great reads for Spring Break? Check out these titles from our friends at Blue Willow Bookshop!   Texas Baby by Jerome Pohlen

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