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"Be More Chill", The Broadway Musical, at the Lyceum Theatre
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"Be More Chill", The Broadway Musical, at the Lyceum Theatre

- Backstage with the Playwrights


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Gerald Goehring, Michael F. Mitri
Jennifer Ashley Tepper, Marc David Levine,
Marlene and Gary Cohen, 42nd.Club
et al.
Present:

Be More Chill
The Broadway Musical
(Be More Chill Website)

Music & Lyrics by Joe Iconis
Book by Joe Tracz
Based on the novel by Ned Vizzini

Directed by Stephen Brackett
Choreography by Chase Brock
Music Supervision & Orchestrations
by Charlie Rosen
Music Direction & Vocal Arrangements
by Emily Marshall

At the
Lyceum Theatre
A Schubert Organization
149 West 45th Street
212.239.6200

With:
Will Roland, George Salazar, Stephanie Hsu
Gerard Canonico, Katlyn Carlson, Tiffany Mann
Lauren Marcus, Britton Smith,
Jason Sweettooth Williams, Jason Tam
and an ensemble.

Scenic Design: Beowulf Boritt
Costume Design: Bobby Frederick Tilley II
Lighting Design: Tyler Micoleau
Sound Design: Ryan Rumery
Projection Design: Alex Basco Koch
Wig & Makeup Design: Dave Bova
Fight Director: J. David Brimmer
Music Coordinator: Michael Aarons
Dance Arrangements: Rob Berman
Production Stage Manager: Amanda Michaels
Production Supervisor: Senovva
Company Manager: Daniel Hoyos
Press Representative: Keith Sherman & Associates
Casting: Telsey + Co.,
Adam Caldwell CSA / Rebecca Scholl, CSA
Advertising & Marketing: AKA
General Management:
LDK Productions / Lisa Dozier King


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 30, 2019 Matinee


As I walked into a spring matinee, filled with teens and a sea of cellphones, I was sure Be More Chill would be a grueling slog. In fact, a couple to my rear, also of maturity, asked what we were all doing there. I recall commenting that I looked forward to experiencing a different kind of show, and that it was. And, quite surprisingly, in some ways I found Joe Tracz’ book and Joe Iconis’ music and lyrics contagious, not all, but some. This musical, transported from Off-Broadway, seems drawn from current social media culture, with uninhibited conversations shared and presented onstage, along with a wild fantasy about pharmaceutical mind and sight control, peppered with a dash of old fashioned romance. The tonal volume of the sound system, it should be noted, was akin to watching the show in a train station at rush hour, and one wonders if the cacophonous tunes will attach to one’s mind, like a Squip.

The Squip, played by an adorable Jason Tam, is a computerized pill, which, when swallowed with Mountain Dew, overtakes the mind and persona of whomever ingested it. It is magically immediate in affect, and best friends can become strangers, as Jeremy Heere, an energized Will Roland, discovered, when he had to ditch his buddy, Michael Mell (a lonely George Salazar). Rich Goranski (Gerard Canonico), a hot guy at school, persuades the schlubby Jeremy to down The Squip, so he can get the girl, Christine Canigula (a bouncy Stephanie Hsu), who lusts for Jake Dillinger (a movie-type Britton Smith). Jeremy’s father, played by the versatile Jason Sweettooth Williams (who triples minor roles), prances about their home in underwear, too depressed from a divorce to get dressed. As a teacher and a stock-boy, Williams is full costume. Of course, The Squip makes Jeremy the cool kid he always wanted to be, with out-of-proportion gags, mime, and stunts. The audience cheered and laughed, while (of course) checking phones.

The musical highlight for me was realizing a theremin was in the house, an instrument I was introduced to at a 2015 concert. It creates an eerie sound, giving this show a surreal, film noir effect. Emily Marshall, Conductor, led the band with pulse and percussive rhythms, in, among the many tunes in two acts, “Do You Wanna Hang?”, “A Guy that I’d Kinda Be Into”, “Loser Geek Whatever”, and “The Pants Song”. Mr. Roland and Ms. Hsu, in particular, have excellent vocal talent. I have no need to hear any of the songs again, but I did enjoy the show. Director, Stephen Brackett, kept the gags coming to the audience’s delight; there certainly was little down time. Chase Brock’s choreography was well proportioned to the hyper vignettes and thumping music. Charlie Rosen had his work cut out with orchestrations, and kudos to the theremin player. Beowulf Boritt’s colorful, illuminated set, Bobby Frederick Tilley’s oft-outlandish costumes, Tyler Micoleau’s shifting lighting, Ryan Rumery’s high volume sound, and Alex Basco Koch’s fantasy projections all added to the obvious enjoyment of the Broadway matinee crowd.



Will Roland and the Cast
of "Be More Chill"
Courtesy of Maria Baranova



See a Testimonial of Daniela Trattoria's New Redesign.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net