Unlike most shows that reach Broadway, “Be More Chill” became a hit not from stellar ticket sales during its original run or critical approval, but from a powerful young fan base who connected deeply with its characters and streamed the pop-rock soundtrack more than 160 million times.
The production, which debuts on Broadway at the Lyceum Theater in February, spins around Jeremy, an unpopular high school student who just wants to get by without being bullied. It’s a classic coming-of-age tale, with an added sci-fi twist: Jeremy takes what is essentially a literal chill pill, called a SQUIP — a Super Quantum Unit Intel Processor. It implants in his brain and tells him how to act, which sounds like a dream come true for a teenage outcast. But of course, things go awry, leading to a flurry of campy, catchy musical numbers.
Watching the show blossom from its debut at New Jersey’s Two River Theater to a Broadway-bound production has been surreal for the show’s cast and crew. Fans have created complex and detailed fan art, while others have written elaborate fan fiction and follow discussion boards about the play’s most beloved actors, which include Stephanie Hsu, Gerard Canonico, Katlyn Carlson, George Salazar and Lauren Marcus.
Watch the video above for interviews with the cast and creatives behind the viral sensation.
Top Image: Be More Chill