Be More Chill OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: T. Charles Erickson
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    May 30, 2015
    Closing:
    June 28, 2015

    Theater: Two River Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank, NJ 07701

    Synopsis: 

    Based on the acclaimed 2004 novel by Ned Vizzini, this highly anticipated world premiere is by two of the most exciting voices in musical theater—Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz. Jeremy Heere is just an average teenager. That is, until he finds out about “The Squip”—a tiny supercomputer that promises to bring him everything he desires most: a date with Christine, an invite to the raddest party of the year and a chance to survive life in his suburban New Jersey high school. Don’t miss this truly hilarious, honest and invigorating look at the lengths one will go to get the girl, set to some of the most vibrant and exciting songs in musical theater today!

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Be More Chill

    In ‘Be More Chill,’ a Nerd Finds Popularity in a Sci-Fi Pill

    Charles Isherwood

    June 9, 2015: Teenage angst: the grief that just keeps on giving, to popular culture, at least. The woes of the misfit and the wallflower, the snooty brutishness of the jocks and the mean girls have been a bottomless well of material for television, movies and books for decades, and the well shows no signs of running dry. Finding novelty in such a well-worn genre becomes the challenge. “Be More Chill,” an energetic if still familiar-feeling new musical based on the young-adult novel by Ned Vizzini, updates the classic nerd-who-yearns-for-popularity story by adding a sci-fi twist. Jeremy (Will Connolly), the skinny geek protagonist, becomes transformed into the cynosure of his high school’s popular crowd when his persona is tweaked, or upgraded, as one of the songs announces, after he ingests a mysterious Japanese pill. The show, making its premiere at the Two River Theater here, features music and lyrics by Joe Iconis, who supplied songs for the second season of NBC’s “Smash,” and a book by Joe Tracz. It introduces Jeremy in a song announcing his mild ambitions: “I don’t want to be a hero/ Just wanna stay in the line/ I’ll never be a Rob De Niro/ For me, Joe Pesci is fine.” But his desire to shine is supercharged by a wicked crush on a perky girl named Christine (Stephanie Hsu); so desperate is he for her attention that he finds the courage to sign up for the school play — ever the mark of a loser in most high schools. (Although, thanks to “Glee,” this has begun to feel so 20th century.)

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