Be More Chill Review

(via NY Times)

If I were to ask my ten year old brother for the plot of a show he’d like to see, he would probably spit out the exact plot of Be More Chill. But with the writing of the talented and enthusiastic Joe Iconis and the starpower of Will Roland, this show is an exciting adventure through the teenage mind. Roland stars as Jeremy Heere, a lonely seventeen year old who struggles to fit in at school. He only has one friend, Michael, stunningly played by George Salaazar. One day, a popular boy named Rich reveals that he uses a SQUIP, a super-computer that can tell you how to act cool and “chill.” Jeremy purchases one, and it takes the form of Keanu Reeves as it sings about how terrible Jeremy is (“Be More Chill pt. 1”). Unsurprisingly, things go south and Jeremy ends up destroying the SQUIP with Red Mountain Dew. So all in all, this is not what you would call your typical Broadway smash hit. But the high energy from both the score and cast make it an enjoyable and action-packed plot. Even Stephanie Hsu, who plays Christina, Jeremy’s love interest, gives a captivating performance that forces you to get excited about play rehearsal (“I Love Play Rehearsal”).

Beyond the cast and plot, the set design immerses you into the Be More Chill universe. Flashing lights and video games accompany the soundtrack, both shocking and exciting you. It may be too much for some, but most of the younger demographic probably won’t find issues with the surprise lighting changes. The lights add excitement to the story, and had me almost jumping out of my seat the whole time. I personally adored this show, especially its backstory. This Broadway musical began at the Two Rivers Theater in New Jersey with no success. However, the soundtrack went viral online and the teenagers who fell in love with it carried it all the way to the Lyceum Theater. Its rags to riches story makes Be More Chill all the more enjoyable, as its internet-driven plot is perfectly fitting for the show’s development. The show’s backstory makes it even more enjoyable to watch, as it makes you feel a sense of pride for the actors and creators that have worked so hard to make this musical a success. It is a masterpiece of the 21st century, and one of the first musicals to incorporate the modern internet into its plot. Its wild plot alone will put the show on the map, no matter the reviews.

However, I can see how this show would not be for everyone. From the frequent mentioning of masturbation to a whole song about spreading gossip through your smartphone, the show caters to a very specific demographic. Teens across the globe are infatuated with this show, and have been since its debut in 2015. However, the internet/video game themed marketing and constant high energy music may drive away many adults and even some teens. I hope that this show gets many accolades and becomes a success; but I don’t know how realistic that is. I guess the mega-fans of this Dear Evan Hansen with a sci-fi twist will just have to sit back and wait to see what the world thinks of our treasured show.

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