This New York premiere musical is an edgy, comic look at coming of age in the digital age, through the lens of sci-fi films of the 50s, horror flicks of the 80s, and teen movies of the 90s. More…
Jeremy Heere is your average, nothing-special teenager at Middleborough High in nothing-special New Jersey...until the day he finds out about 'The Squip.' A tiny supercomputer inside a pill. Swallow one and a personalized voice will tell you how to dress, how to speak, how to…become cool. Thus begins a journey that pits Jeremy's desire to be popular against his struggle to remain true to his authentic self.
"Be More Chill" will be transferring to Broadway on February 19. Get tickets here.
"'Be More Chill' is an impressive musical version of Ned Vizzini's cult novel. Not only does it reproduce the plot on stage, it also gives it a high tech look that dramatizes the story where the novel left it to the imagination. Joe Iconis, long thought to be one of the most promising new theater composers, makes good on that promise, and Joe Tracz demonstrates for a second time that he can put difficult material on the stage." Full Review
"As it turns out, the show is a blast...The work is catnip for theater kids and a dynamic dose of escapism for their parents. The storyline delivers a message of self-esteem without being preachy, primarily by barely knowing what it is talking about, and doing so with extreme confidence...Though these kids are archetypes, they have surprising depth...In a production boasting many strengths, the greatest is Iconis’s music...The music grabs you and does not let you go." Full Review
"A hard-charging score by Iconis and a deliriously funny book by Tracz...Roland leads the tireless cast with authentic dweebiness...Salazar is an instantly appealing wingman and briefly steals the show...Iconis is a musical magpie, incorporating contemporary pop and rock into a classic, almost retro Broadway sound...'Be More Chill' holds a funhouse mirror up to the way we increasingly live our digital lives. That makes it not just ridiculously fun, but positively heroic." Full Review
"Inventively combining retro-sci-fi and futuristic technology with pop-culture references, a high-voltage score and choreography, and a keen-witted understanding of the universal challenges of being a teen...Along with its high entertainment value, 'Be More Chill' offers key psychological insight into the mind and struggles of contemporary youth...It is a smart, funny, and compelling show that has the potential to make lifelong theatergoers out of the current generation." Full Review
“It deserves every bit of the hyper hype it has accumulated...It’s a young and feisty ‘Mean Girls’ musical, mixed with the Sci-Fi out of this world ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, with a light outsider touch of a humorous ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ layered on top of its catchy soundtrack. With super strong and festive music and lyrics...and a compelling and comical book...This amazingly funny and charming show delivers the goods.” Full Review
“Brackett directs this piece with glee, mirth and energy galore...Iconis’ songs are catchy and go in places you don’t expect...Iconis’ music is made just that much better by up-and-coming orchestrator and band leader Charlie Rosen. ‘Be More Chill’ has a unique pop and electronica influenced score and Rosen gets the balance just right...Tracz’s book is predictable but it still has heart...Like ‘Dear Evan Hansen’, this show gets a rock show ending with audiences of all ages on their feet.” Full Review
"Iconis has written his finest score to date. His catchy songs are neatly integrated into the plotting and provide complete character portraits. Iconis also uses eerie electronic sounds to heighten the mood. The book (by Joe Tracz) is nowhere near as strong as the score, which creates a palpable disunity...Notwithstanding, the production is a raucous good time, with a gleefully silly, hyperkinetic air that invades its every facet...The high-powered performances are universally excellent." Full Review
"'Be More Chill' is a delight, a tale of social anxiety whose pop-rock score, written by Joe Iconis, is unfailingly lively and fresh. Stephen Brackett and Chase Brock, the director and choreographer, keep the pace brisk, and the cast, Stephanie Hsu in particular, is engaging without limit. Yes, Joe Tracz’s book is deliberately pitched to an under-35 audience, but you don’t have to be a millennial to get the jokes, much less to revel in the sparky charms of 'Be More Chill.'" Full Review
"'Be More Chill' doesn’t see the need to endlessly mock Jersey when there are so many issues about high school life to examine...That 'Be More Chill' includes all the teen angst that’s been detailed in hundreds of properties before it isn’t a liability; all the issues still ring of truth...The show loses its way in the last 15 minutes, but Iconis and Tracz give us the confidence that they’re going to get it right as they continue to work on the show...Roland's giving the performance of the se... Full Review
"Joe Tracz’s witty adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s novel provides characters that are types and unique creations, who sing tunes by the wunderkind Joe Iconis that evoke multiple musical traditions and focus on smart, clear lyrics...Witness the rise and fall of adolescent yelps and screams of pleasure at their musical heroes and she-roes in a new musical written just for them. Thrill to the spark of originality in a universal growing-up story." Full Review
"One of the most striking things about 'Be More Chill' is for all the hype, it feels immediately familiar. No matter how you remember high school, it still stands as a relatable playing field...Watching it I felt pure, uncomplicated joy, an emotion that theatre so often complicates. But at the same time a nagging voice was telling me that this musical isn’t exactly ground-breaking...But that's ok, because 'Be More Chill' is pure comfort food...Unassuming and fun; here, that’s enough." Full Review
"Rock numbers are high energy and aptly juvenile, if musically unmemorable. Lyrics are idiomatically specific – Iconis completely 'gets' it, sometimes very clever, at others somewhat awkward and repetitive. None of this matters in the end. The sweep and relevancy of the piece is on target both with teens and the times...Tracz’s book makes sense, acting as ballast between fantastical events. Both writers handle compassion as well as they do youthful brutality...Quirkily entertaining and it wor... Full Review
"If nothing else, this musical proves the power of the people...Perhaps the show just speaks to teenagers of this generation. Maybe it’s something in the songs or the book, or even in Brackett’s direction...What makes 'Be More Chill' most distinct is its science fiction element...Everyone is impressive, hilarious, and superbly talented...Not a show to ignore...The show may be somewhat immature, but it speaks to an entire generation, so it is clearly doing something right." Full Review
"Roland’s best musical moment comes early in the show with squeakily and eloquently-rendered lines...For Salazar, his nervous 'Michael in the Bathroom' is a second act tour de force, a rollercoaster ride of anxiety-driven vocal emotionalism and melodic complexity...Stephen Brackett and Beowulf Boritt make the action swift, and the glossy, 80s-like setting sleek and techy without New Wave kitsch. No theater piece has made tech-nerdiness look or sound as modern and warm." Full Review
"You don’t have to be 15 to be thrilled by the best moments in the Off-Broadway production of 'Be More Chill,' a musical about high school, presented by a terrifically talented cast, that is too quirky and clever to be dismissed as a standard high school musical bestiary, But it might help to be a teenage fan in order to enjoy all two and a half hours of 'Be More Chill,' even those times when the music turns very loud and the story turns very weird." Full Review
"Iconis' pop-rock score includes plenty of enjoyably catchy, uptempo numbers...Director Stephen Brackett keeps things moving at a frenetic pace, with Chase Brock's energetic choreography providing plenty of opportunities for the young performers to exhibit their athleticism...Exuberantly performed by its talented ensemble, the musical is definitely not for everyone...But the evening ultimately proves so winning that it's hard to entirely resist." Full Review
"Most notable is Mr. Roland who jumped from a supporting role in the original Broadway company of 'Dear Evan Hansen' to take on 'Be More Chill’s' central character. He anchors the 10-member ensemble with a humorous, emotionally charged performance, and while his vocal delivery hits decibel-shattering levels thanks to Ryan Rumery’s sound design, it lacks the color and nuance of some of his co-stars." Full Review
"Collectively the performers respond with zest and exuberance to director Stephen Brackett and to the modest demands of choreographer Chase Brock. A lengthy and labored Halloween bash, however, gets tiresome pretty quickly...For an audience that can make peace or at least a truce with the predictability of the plot and its resolve, the post rock score and lyrics that may be painful to some adult ears, this musical is smartly awash with teen-speak." Full Review
"The songs of 'Be More Chill' are stellar, even if the lyrics are occasionally too pat. The script is loaded with corny jokes and hokey sentiments, but the plot offers a fun sci-fi twist on familiar conventions. I must say I enjoyed it...'Be More Chill' is a new sci-fi, pop-rock, satirical allegory of a musical for tweens and early teens, and probably not anyone else...The show is well-staged and performed, but remains an emotionally disengaging experience." Full Review
“Loaded with young talent, even if one sometimes wonders about the uses to which it is being put…Even when 'Be More Chill' does things well, it's hard to forget that others are doing them, too -- sometimes better…Even at its most entertaining, the show never fully dispels the question, Do we really need another safari through the high school jungle?..Still, Roland smoothly graduates to leading man here, and his solid characterization -- and excellent voice -- help hold the evening together.” Full Review
"I found 'Be More Chill' to be dopey, shrill and manic, amped to earbleed level. Joe Iconis’ pop-rock score is skillful, but generic and overly camp. It has a few decent songs and a dollop of heart, but doesn’t stand out from the crowd...Still, I can understand why so many young (and not so young) people are drawn to 'Be More Chill.' It’s broad but earnest...I just hope the juniors that flock to this...can grow up and appreciate more demanding stuff." Full Review
"Few of the songs are memorable. However, 'Michael in the Bathroom' is perhaps the most carefully written and the most sensitively delivered by George Salazar. The cast is uniformly outstanding...The playwright does not give us enough exposition about the protagonist Jeremy or his best friend Michael...Tracz’s book and Iconis’s lyrics fail to address the depth of teenage angst and the tragic events that often erupt from deep despair and depression." Full Review
"The award winning 'Hansen' is also about an unpopular teen’s fraudulent way of becoming more accepted, but it happens to have way more texture and subtlety...Joe Iconis has a few interesting songs, like 'The Pants Song,' but a lot of the score is sunk by 'moon/June' type lyrics, and there are two self-pitying numbers pretty close to each other...When 'Be More Chill' is clever, it’s fun, but in general, it needs to chill out." Full Review
"Should the show make it to Broadway – where it seems, on the shoulders of its viral fanbase, to be headed – it could stand to cut a good deal of fat; some of book writer Joe Tracz’s punchlines were met with crickets, and the second act often gets in its own way, following whims that are ill-advised if not entirely random. But when the train seems about to derail, as it did a couple of times in the show’s last hour, 'Be More Chill' is salvaged by its hearty, charismatic performances." Full Review
"Unfortunately, anyone for whom adolescence is a distant and unpleasant memory is unlikely to feel like screaming, not in ecstasy, anyway...'Be More Chill' seems like a members-only club for those caught in the hellish here-and-now of the middle teens...From beginning to end, the score has an 'OMG' urgency that never lets up,...The musical sequences, featuring slapdash choreography by Chase Brock, tend to blend into one another." Full Review
See it if You enjoy teen themes, current and relevant social angst themes, music is fantastic and catchy.
Don't see it if You dislike teen themes. Don't bring children under 14 unless socially mature.
See it if “Be More chill” is in every sense the musical interpretation of what “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” movie represented
Don't see it if If you are short sighted and you are not able to let yourself be convinced by the mass appeal of this work
See it if This show is awesome. You will have such a great time - it’s a full on experience.
Don't see it if You’re not interested in a teenage story. It’s high school based. High tech modern show - don’t see if it’s not your thing
See it if You like fun, energetic shows with some incredible talent and clever writing. About teens but definitely all ages and surprisingly heartfelt
Don't see it if You don't remember what it's like to be a teenager and how hard it is. Or if you don't like shows like Heathers.
See it if You have teens or can relate to what it felt like in high school to not be part of the “cool kids” music and lyrics are terrific.
Don't see it if No reason to not see. This is a “must see” for everyone. I saw it with a friend who is 90 and went back with my 20 year old niece
See it if you want to see a fantastic, moving, fun as hell, original coming of age musical for the outcasts. This score is so so good. THE JOES, MAN!
Don't see it if SEE IT. If you're sensitive to loud noises/music, I might suggest bringing earplugs. I felt old (I'm not). It's loud!
See it if you wish all musicals could be this joyful and specific, this cleverly plotted and weirdly funny, this bursting with fresh talent.
Don't see it if you don't like loud noises and find it difficult to relate to young people or distasteful to consider whether their opinions matter.
See it if You enjoy a high-energy rock musical about a "magic pill" but things aren't what they seem. Fast paced, great songs, want the soundtrack!
Don't see it if You prefer a talky drama instead, or if you don't have earplugs (music super loud)
See it if you want an original musical, with a cult-like following not seen since Dear Evan Hansen, and an incredible catchy score.
Don't see it if you can't get tickets, b/c the Off-Broadway run is sold out!
See it if You like cult musicals, love internet and geek culture, have an ear for phenomenal vocals, or enjoy Dear Evan Hansen or Heathers.
Don't see it if You hate internet/millennial/Gen Z culture, don’t like pop/rock musicals, or have sensitivity to strobe lights.
See it if You like energy, pop/rock music, mean girls and light-hearted cute visual yet relatable content with good production value / set design.
Don't see it if You loathe High school / inappropriate / matrix-y and awkward flirting & suggestive drug content / repetitive lyrics
See it if You like shows that relate to the awkwardness and cliquishness of youth and the desire to belong or be unnoticed
Don't see it if You aren’t interested in youth culture or sci fi stories
See it if you love new musicals, you love to laugh, and/or if you are looking to do something fun with family (tweens+). Not yet perfect but delight.
Don't see it if you don't like to laugh, you hate anything with a sci-fi component, or you seek straight play drama. Or if you can't handle fringe feel.
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