Broadway's viral hit Be More Chill will end its run in August
Be More Chill, the musical whose online popularity gave way to a Broadway debut in March, will play its final performance on Aug. 11.
The show follows Jeremy (Will Roland), a self-described loser who takes a literal chill pill to be cool, only to realize the outcome isn’t all it’s stacked up to be. First bowing out at a New Jersey theater in 2015, Be More Chill garnered middling reviews. But by summer 2018, the show’s cast recording went viral and collected 150 million streams worldwide, a feat previously accomplished only by smash hits like Hamilton. This internet popularity breathed new life into the production, largely due to its dedicated teenage fans who drove it to become the second-most-discussed musical of 2018 on Tumblr.
This sudden stardom led to an off-Broadway run in 2018, and then a Broadway debut at the Lyceum Theater on March 10. The show sold out before it opened. The final performance on Sunday, Aug. 11 follows 30 previews and 177 performances. It was also announced in October that the show will be getting a film adaptation produced by Shawn Levy and Greg Berlanti’s respective banners, although there has been no news of the movie since then.
“Be More Chill has never followed a conventional path. It’s a musical that has subverted expectations and caused a ruckus every step of the way. I’m beyond proud that our little underdog musical played for the better part of a year in New York City, and that half of that year was spent on Broadway. Having a show I care about play Broadway has been a dream of mine since I was a child,” said the show’s composer Joe Iconis.
“Do I wish we could’ve beaten the odds and played 45th street for five years? Yes. Am I aware that by making it to Broadway in the first place, we already beat the odds? Oh hell yes,” Iconis continued. “In the last year, I have been told by countless young people that our musical was their first experience in a theater. Our little musical not based on a brand, featuring original show tunes and a cast who reflect the world we live in has introduced so many young people to the theater and for that, I am so beyond grateful.”
Be More Chill features music and lyrics by Iconis and a book by Joe Tracz, based on the novel by Ned Vizzini. Stephen Brackett directed the show and Chase Brock served as choreographer. The cast comprises Roland, George Salazar, Stephanie Hsu, Gerard Canonico, Katlyn Carlson, and more.
In her review, EW’s Jessica Derschowitz described the musical as predictable but still packing a punch. “Iconis’ pop-rock songs are catchy and the show channels the angst and insecurities many young people experience, particularly in this social-media-driven age,” she wrote.
While Be More Chill may not have experienced the longevity on Broadway that Iconis hoped for, he has said that the musical demonstrates that fandom and the internet are powerful forces.
“Social media and the power of the people can and should play a part in how shows get to Broadway,” he previously told EW. “I hope more shows arrive in big, beautiful commercial productions in New York City because people actually want to see them as opposed to because the show is a brand because a famous person is starring in the show or whatever the reasons shows typically land on a Broadway stage.”