Be More Chill (musical)

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Be More Chill
Be More Chill 2018.jpg
Show logo
Music Joe Iconis
Lyrics Joe Iconis
Book Joe Tracz
Setting New Jersey; 2015
Basis Be More Chill
by Ned Vizzini
Premiere Red Bank, New Jersey
Productions 2015 Two River Theatre
2018 Off-Broadway
2019 Broadway

Be More Chill is a musical with music and lyrics by Joe Iconis and a book by Joe Tracz, based on the novel Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini.[1]

Productions[edit]

The musical premiered in June 2015 at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey. The production featured Will Conolly as Jeremy, Eric William Morris as the Squip, George Salazar as Michael, Stephanie Hsu, Katie Ladner, Lauren Marcus, Jake Boyd, Gerard Canonico, Katlyn Carlson, and Paul Whitty. The musical was commissioned by Two River Theater as part of their new play development program.[2][3]

Be More Chill received an Off-Broadway production at the Irene Diamond Stage at the Pershing Square Signature Center.[4] This production features several original cast members including Stephanie Hsu, George Salazar, Gerard Canonico, Katlyn Carlson and Lauren Marcus reprising their respective roles. New cast members include Will Roland of Dear Evan Hansen as Jeremy, Jason Tam as the SQUIP, Britton Smith as Jake, Tiffany Mann as Jenna, and Jason "Sweettooth" Williams as Mr. Heere.[5]

On September 5th, 2018 it was announced that the Off-Broadway production would receive a Broadway transfer, with previews beginning at the Lyceum Theatre on February 13, 2019.[6]

Synopsis[7][edit]

Act One[edit]

Jeremy Heere signs up for the school play in an attempt to get closer to his crush, Christine Canigula. He laments his status as a social outcast and longs to be cool ("More Than Survive"). At rehearsal, Jeremy strikes up a conversation with Christine, who professes her love of the stage ("I Love Play Rehearsal").

Jeremy runs into school bully Rich Goranski, who tells him about a pill called a "super quantum unit intel processor," or "SQUIP." The SQUIP implants itself in the host's brain and tells them how to act. Rich tells Jeremy how he used to be a social outcast, but with the SQUIP's help, became popular. Rich suggests that Jeremy gets one. ("The SQUIP Song").

Jeremy tells Michael, his best friend, about his conversation with Rich. Michael is skeptical but reassures Jeremy that they will always be friends ("Two Player Game"). They purchase a SQUIP for Jeremy, who takes the pill with Mountain Dew, as instructed and the SQUIP activates ("The SQUIP Enters").

The SQUIP tells Jeremy that it will change everything about him ("Be More Chill Pt. 1"). While shopping, Jeremy runs into two popular girls from school, Brooke Lohst and Chloe Valentine, who offer him a ride home ("Do You Wanna Ride?"). However, against the SQUIP's orders, Jeremy leaves to find Michael — only for the SQUIP to tell him that Michael had left. Seeing what happened when he disobeyed the SQUIP, Jeremy vows to be more obedient ("Be More Chill Pt. 2"). Jeremy heads to school the next morning with a renewed confidence ("More Than Survive (Reprise)").

At rehearsals, they begin to rehearse their zombie-apocalypse version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. During a break, Christine tells Jeremy about her feelings for a guy she knows, which turns out to be Jake ("A Guy That I'd Kinda Be Into"). After rehearsal, the SQUIP informs him that Christine won't date him until his social standing drastically improves. The SQUIP encourages Jeremy to meet up with Brooke to use as a stepping stone to popularity ("Upgrade"). Also at the SQUIP's recommendation, Jeremy purposefully ignores Michael using a method called "optic nerve blocking," who is a link to "Jeremy 1.0" ("Loser Geek Whatever").

Act Two[edit]

Act Two begins at Jake's Halloween party where chaos ensues ("Halloween"). Jeremy arrives and meets Brooke. Chloe, who is jealous of Brooke, takes Jeremy upstairs and tries to seduce him. While Jeremy is clearly not interested, the SQUIP makes him kiss her ("Do You Wanna Hang?") The SQUIP suddenly begins trying to warn Jeremy of something, but it can only speak Japanese, a side effect of Jeremy's alcohol consumption.

Jeremy runs into a bathroom, finding Michael who is furious that he's been abandoned. Michael tells Jeremy that he researched the SQUIP and warns him about its dangers— Michael uncovers that a previous student who took one and while it improved his life a little, he landed in a mental hospital after going crazy trying to get it out. Jeremy, thinking that Michael is just jealous of his popularity, storms out after calling Michael a loser. Michael locks himself in the bathroom and begins to have a panic attack as he mourns the loss of his only friend ("Michael in the Bathroom").

Meanwhile, Jeremy meets Christine at the party and with a sudden burst of confidence, he asks her out. Christine who has found herself in an existential crisis, declines, thinking it is best for her to not see anybody else until she knows who she is. Rich meanwhile is asking around the now nearly over party if anyone has any Mountain Dew Red. Jeremy's SQUIP finally reactivates and reviews the events of the next, forcibly removing Jeremy from the party immediately.

The next morning, Jenna Rolan, the school gossip, texts everyone with the news that Jake's house burned down in a fire set by Rich after the party and both of them are in the hospital. The news spreads throughout the school ("The Smartphone Hour (Rich Set a Fire)"). Jeremy's SQUIP reveals its master plan — to put SQUIPs in the entire student body ("The Pitiful Children").

At home, Jeremy is confronted by his father, who asks why Jeremy's personality has changed. Jeremy reprimands his father for acting like he cares since Mr. Heere's entire life has been on pause since his divorce. Jeremy storms out, and, shaken by Jeremy's words, Mr. Heere realizes that something is wrong and that he must take charge. He tracks down Michael and convinces him to not give up on his friendship with Jeremy ("The Pants Song").

Backstage at the play, the director brings out a prop — a beaker of Mountain Dew, with SQUIPs in it. Jeremy suddenly realizes that the cast has been SQUIP'ed. At the SQUIP's prompt, Jeremy realizes that — green Mountain Dew activates a SQUIP, and Mountain Dew Red shuts it off. In the last moment Michael enters holding Mountain Dew Red. Jake, under the control of his SQUIP empties the bottle, destroying all hope of deactivating the SQUIP's. Jeremy is moments away from drinking the last drop of Mountain Dew Red left in the bottle when a SQUIP'ed Christine appears, confessing her love for Jeremy. The SQUIP reveals that Christine will now do whatever he wants. Jeremy instructs her to drink the last drop of Mountain Dew Red left, causing her to release an ear-piercing shriek, destroying all of the SQUIP's ("The Play").

Jeremy wakes up in the hospital, in the same room as Rich who without his SQUIP realizes that he is bisexual and that he never needed a SQUIP to be happy. Michael and the new pants-wearing Mr. Heere arrive to visit Jeremy. Michael explains that since all of the SQUIPs were networked together, by destroying Christine's SQUIP, the others were destroyed in the process. Jeremy summons the courage to ask Christine out once more and she concurs. Jeremy understands that there will always be voices in his head, but his own must be the loudest ("Voices in My Head").

Musical numbers[1][edit]

† Added to the Off-Broadway production.

◇ Prior to the off-Broadway production, the order of "The Pants Song" and "The Pitiful Children" was reversed.

Roles and original casts[edit]

Original productions[5][edit]

Character(s) World Premiere Cast (2015)
Two River Theatre
Original Off-Broadway Cast (2018)
Pershing Square Signature Center
Original Broadway Cast (2019)
Lyceum Theatre
Jeremy Heere Will Connolly Will Roland
Michael Mell George Salazar
Christine Canigula Stephanie Hsu
The SQUIP Eric William Morris Jason Tam
Chloe Valentine Katlyn Carlson
Brooke Lohst Lauren Marcus
Rich Goranski Gerard Canonico
Jenna Rolan Katie Ladner Tiffany Mann
Jake Dillinger Jake Boyd Britton Smith
Mr. Heere
Mr. Reyes
Scary Stockboy
Paul Whitty Jason "SweetTooth" Williams

Recording[edit]

The world premiere cast recorded an original cast album on July 21, 2015, which was released on October 31, 2015.[8] The cast recording was released on vinyl by Ghostlight Records in July 2018.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Be More Chill (Original Cast Recording)". Ghostlight Records. Retrieved 2018-07-03. 
  2. ^ Isherwood, Charles (2015-06-09). "Review: In 'Be More Chill', a Nerd Finds Popularity in a Sci-Fi Pill". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  3. ^ "'Be More Chill' opens at Two River Theater". NJ.com. Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  4. ^ McPhee, Ryan. It began previews July 26 and will play until September 30, 2018. " 'Be More Chill' Will Play Off-Broadway; Will Roland to Star" playbill.com, April 13, 2018
  5. ^ a b "Company". BE MORE CHILL | Off-Broadway | Official Site. Retrieved 2018-07-03. 
  6. ^ Clement, Olivia. "Be More Chill Will Transfer To Broadway In 2019". playbill.com. Retrieved 09/05/2018.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  7. ^ "Be More Chill". Retrieved 2018-07-15. 
  8. ^ "Joe Iconis' Be More Chill Cast Recording, with Gerard Canonico, George Salazar and More, Released Today | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-07-03.  line feed character in |title= at position 13 (help)
  9. ^ "Be More Chill Cast Recording to be Released on Vinyl | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-07-03. 

External links[edit]