Be More Chill BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Maria Baranova
  • NY TIMES

  • DEADLINE

  • VARIETY

  • HR

  • EW

Opening Night:
March 10, 2019
Closing:
Open Ended

Theater: Lyceum Theatre / 149 West 45th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Based on the novel by Ned Vizzini, Be More Chill is the story of Jeremy Heere, your average, nothing-special teenager at Middleborough High in nothing-special New Jersey. That is, until the day he finds out about "The Squip." Thus begins a journey that pits Jeremy's desire to be popular against his struggle to remain true to his authentic self.

Following a sold-out and extended run Off-Broadway, Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz's Be More Chill comes to Broadway! Blending the contemporary with retro sci-fi, this thrillingly exciting, comically subversive, and deeply felt new musical takes on the competing voices in all of our heads. And ultimately proves, there's never been a better time in history to be yourself-especially if you're a loser...geek...or whatever.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Be More Chill

    Review: Anxious Teens Learn to ‘Be More Chill’ on a Big Stage

    Ben Brantley

    March 10, 2019: Adapted by Joe Iconis (songs) and Joe Tracz (book) from Ned Vizzini’s appealing young adult novel, “Be More Chill” has already broken the Lyceum house record for a single week of ticket sales. If it sustains that momentum, it will be partly because this latest entry in the puberty musical sweepstakes has traits that undeniably set it apart from its competition. For one thing, it is — by cold critical standards — the worst of the lot, with a repetitive score, painfully forced rhymes, cartoonish acting and a general approach that mistakes decibel level (literally and metaphorically) for emotional intensity. But this ostensible amateurishness may be exactly what sells “Be More Chill” to its young target audience. Alone among Broadway musicals, “Be More Chill” feels as if it could have been created by the teenagers it portrays, or perhaps by even younger people imagining what high school will be like. Though its production values have been souped up since I saw it in August, the show’s current incarnation — which features the same cast and is again directed by Stephen Brackett — remains a festival of klutziness that you could imagine being put together in the bedrooms and basements of young YouTubers.

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  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF Be More Chill

    ‘Be More Chill’ Review: No Heat Lost As Joyous Viral Musical Sensation Finally Charges Broadway

    Greg Evans

    March 10, 2019: To quote a song from the tenacious – and tenaciously enjoyable – Be More Chill, the Joe Iconis-Joe Tracz musical arrives on Broadway with just enough of an “upgrade” from last summer’s Off Broadway staging to fill its new home and the greater expectations that come with the move. The costumes, the scenic design, the projections of computer gimcrackery and video game effects all seem buffed, beglittered and amped up just enough to suit Broadway demands without swamping the heart and humor that caught everyone’s attention in the first place.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Be More Chill

    Broadway Review: ‘Be More Chill’

    A.D. Amorosi

    March 10, 2019: That same energetic cast is on board for this fresh Broadway run of “Be More Chill.” The musical’s storyline is driven by the friendship of dweebs Jeremy (Will Roland) and Michael (George Salazar), and the lengths that Jeremy will go to eschew loserhood and finally get the girl, Christine (Stephanie Hsu). That Jeremy’s transition involves a dangerous mega-computer-in-a-pill called a Squip, personified by a megalomaniacal, Keanu Reeves-like presence (Jason Tam), is what drives “Be More Chill,” comically and even thrillingly at times. There is a breathless quality to everything that squeaky (but belting) baritone Roland does in his attempt to break free and be cool. And those thrills aren’t just for kids. Traditional theatergoing audiences that tend to be older than the teens and twentysomethings that packed the Off Broadway run will find delicious favor in Iconis’ contagious melodies and tricky lyrics.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Be More Chill

    'Be More Chill': Theater Review

    Frank Scheck

    March 10, 2019: Be More Chill doesn't benefit from a repeat viewing for anyone who's already gone through adolescence. Iconis' pop/rock score, augmented for its Broadway debut with an additional, inconsequential song, "Sync Up," is catchy enough. It features some fun, upbeat numbers, including the title tune and "Upgrade," while another, "Michael in the Bathroom," is a terrific showcase for Salazar, who gets a huge ovation when he first walks onstage, signifying how familiar many audience members already are with the show. But for theatergoers not already smitten with the score, the musical contains serious problems. The book devolves into silliness via such plot elements as a school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream set in a post-apocalyptic world crawling with zombies. The central narrative — which also plucks elements from the Shakespeare comedy — certainly succeeds in tapping into themes of teenage angst and even has some symbolic resonance, but the sophomoric humor and cliched situations feel more appropriate for MTV than Broadway. The musical seems out of place in the elegant surroundings, like a kid trying to look more grown-up by wearing an ill-fitting suit.

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  • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW OF Be More Chill

    Be More Chill is an online hit that's underwhelming IRL

    Jessica Derschowitz

    March 10, 2019: It’s fine that the show’s arc is predictable — frankly, it’d be far less interesting if Jeremy took the Squip and his life was perfect, the end. The problem is that those stakes still never feel high enough, and the show is the exact opposite of chill throughout. Everything bursts with a relentless OMG-level of intensity, from the songs to the costumes and choreography (Bobby Frederick Tilley II and Chase Brock, respectively) and characters that lean into every broad clique cliché. When everything is so heightened, it’s hard for anything to stand out. As Jeremy, Roland shows he’s capable of more than the supporting-player part he played in Hansen. But the real star here is Salazar, whose breakout tune “Michael in the Bathroom” easily becomes the show’s highlight. It’s a passionate anthem about best-friend betrayal and party-induced social anxiety that nearly anyone can relate to, a feeling as specific as the song is cathartic. (There’s also a witty number from the show’s generally stronger Act 2 that spreads gossip via phone calls and an autocorrect snafu.)

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