Vibrant, Intense, and Relatable: A Review of the Broadway Musical, ‘Be More Chill’

A quantum computer from Japan can make you popular?

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The ‘Be More Chill’ musical displays this screen covering before the start of the show and also during intermission. However, the pill on the “i” is gray at first and changes to yellow during the intermission, indicating the activation of the “SQUIP”

If you are looking to witness a musical that is vibrant, intense, and relatable, then look no further than the musical that is taking over Broadway by storm. After running their first show in New Jersey on June 2015, their first Off-Broadway show in 2018, Be More Chill has accumulated a massive fanbase, with the cast album being streamed tens of millions of times; this is almost as comparable to other hit Broadway musicals such as Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton: The Musical. “I would, without a doubt, recommend this show to others, especially people my age,” said Griffin Dugger-Ades ’22.

I would, without a doubt, recommend this show to others,” said Griffin Dugger-Ades ’22.

Be More Chill is a new Broadway musical adaptation of the 2004 novel of the same name, written by American Writer Ned Vizzini. We first meet with Jeremy Heere, an anxious, awkward, nerdy, teenager who is constantly assuming the role of the social punching bag, labeling himself and his best friend, Michael Mell, as losers; that is until Jeremy had a run-in with a cool, popular, bully named Rich, where he told Jeremy that he can become popular too, by ingesting a pill-sized supercomputer from Japan called a “SQUIP” (Super Quantum Unit Intel Processor) that can instruct their users their most optimal move to climbing up the social ladder. As the musical unfolds, we continue to witness how Jeremy’s characteristics and personalities, his interactions with his father, his classmates, and Michael, continue to change, adapt, and evolve as he continues to use the SQUIP.

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Griffin Dugger-Ades ’23 dons his CREEPS shirt from the ‘Be More Chill’ musical in front of the Lyceum Theatre entrance.

‘Be More Chill’ has been described as very comedic, relatable, intriguing, and very entertaining. “I’m not one for sappy friendship stories, but this musical discusses the problems every high schooler goes through, so well that it brought tears to my eyes,” said Khadiza Kubra ’20. “People can understand the feeling of being left out, and the wish of fitting in and not being the loser,” said Naomi Liu ’22.

Additionally, the personality of the lead characters, as well as the actors who embody them, can be attributed to the musical’s success. “Michael is my favorite character because no matter what happens to him, he stays true to himself and his friends, and he is always there for his best bud even if his best bud isn’t exactly there for him all the time,” said Khadiza Kubra ’20. “My favorite character is Jeremy, as Will Roland fully absorbs and embodies the character. He puts in little ticks and awkward giggles, while overall being weird enough to fit into the world of ‘Be More Chill,’” said Griffin Dugger-Ades ’22.

Besides the plot and characters, there is a multiplicity of physical aspects within ‘Be More Chill’ that deserves great attention, such as the stage, the set-up, and the choreography. “It was really cool how fast they could change the setting with smooth transitions, and there were so many working and moving parts on the stage that were used to their full potential in adding little details to the choreography,” said Subha Laskar ’20. The musical also utilizes numerous projections throughout the piece that further enhances the theatrical experience. “The projections were very unique, hiding many inside jokes and references that most audience members would miss,” said Griffin Dugger-Ades ’22. “The special effects from the projectors and the live music behind the actors just made the whole thing such a surreal experience that I would not mind watching it several times over again just for the kind of vibe it created,” said Khadiza Kubra ’20.

Of course, not everything about ‘Be More Chill’ is entirely pleasing, as there are some flops that hindered the overall experience. “My least favorite song would be ‘Do You Wanna Hang?’” said Subha Laskar ’20. “The outfits were also on par with other Broadway shows, but they didn’t stand out, which was probably for the better,” said Griffin Dugger-Ades ’22.

Overall, even with these flaws, ‘Be More Chill’ is still one of the most recommended Broadway musicals to this date. “I constantly recommend ‘Be More Chill’ to everyone. It is interesting and has great music, plus I enjoy being able to break into song with my friends all the time,” said Subha Laskar ’20. “I would recommend this musical to anyone and everyone and would definitely go again. I found myself overcome with emotion during some of the scenes because I was just that much into the story,” said Khadiza Kubra ’20. “I would, without a doubt, recommend this show to others. The jokes, the songs, and the characters are all made to appeal to my generation, and they do that successfully,” said Griffin Dugger-Ades ’22.

 

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