Sarasota Ballet Alum Shines in Jagged Little Pill

Arts & Culture

Pictured: L to R- Julie Reiber, Allison Sheppard and Shelby Finnie in the North American Tour of Jagged Little Pill. Photo is by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

Shelby Finnie has always loved to perform. As a dancer growing up in North Carolina, the stage became her home. Eventually Finnie graviated toward ballet, where she landed her first professional job out of high school dancing with the Sarasota Ballet. Now, Finnie is returning to Sarasota as a cast member of the touring production of the Broadway musical Jagged Little Pill, which stops at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall next Tuesday.

“I got to dance professionally with the Sarasota Ballet as my first professional job, which was really life changing and an amazing opportunity for me. My time spent with the organization really shapes who I am as an artist today,” says Finnie.

In Jagged Little Pill, a musical based on Alanis Morisette’s groundbreaking music, Finnie has plenty of opportunity to showcase her dance training. The musical, which focuses on “a perfectly imperfect Connecticut family”, sees Finnie play a special version of the main character, Mary Jane Healy. “I’m technically in the ensemble but I do step out frequently as what we call an avatar. I’m kind of the physical embodiment of what’s happening on the inside of MJ Healy,” says Finnie. “It’s really cool that we get to tell that story through dance and through movement which is something that I haven’t ever seen before and is super unique to the show. I get to personify her innermost feelings through movement.”

Doing so not only allows Finnie to showcase her dancing, but gives an even deeper look into the mindset of the characters. “With musicals we often say, when the words aren’t enough, we break out into song. It’s kind of a similar thing with this production, where dialogue and acting isn’t enough and the emotions are so raw, we get to see that come out in a physical way through a dance,” says Finnie. “I think it’s something that audiences really resonate with and it’s a beautiful way to tell stories.”

Pictured: L to R- Julie Reiber, Allison Sheppard and Shelby Finnie in the North American Tour of Jagged Little Pill. Photo is by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

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