Playhouse Square and Baldwin Wallace University To Present BE MORE CHILL
For their 12th annual collaboration, Playhouse Square and Baldwin Wallace University come together to present the regional premiere of a show currently wowing audiences on Broadway, Be More Chill, in Playhouse Square's Allen Theatre. Performances will be held Friday, April 5, through Sunday, April 7. All tickets are $25 and are available by calling 216-241-6000 or by visiting playhousesquare.org.
Be More Chill centers around the story of an average teenager named Jeremy Heere. Average, that is until he finds out about "The Squip"- a tiny supercomputer that promises to bring him everything he desires most: a date with Christine, an invite to the raddest party of the year and a chance to survive life in his suburban New Jersey high school. But is being the most popular guy in school worth the risk? Be More Chill is based on the novel by Ned Vizzini.
Be More Chill marks the twelfth consecutive collaboration between Playhouse Square and Baldwin Wallace University's renowned music theatre and arts management and entrepreneurship programs. Through this collaboration, BW senior arts management and entrepreneurship students have the unique opportunity to produce the show under the guidance of Playhouse Square staff.
Victoria Bussert, director of Baldwin Wallace's music theatre program, has directed numerous regional premieres and has received national attention for academic premieres of Broadway productions. Regarding Be More Chill, Bussert says that, "it was chosen long before we knew it would be going to Broadway! We try and do regional premieres and this was an exciting title made available to us. I thought Joe Iconis had a unique new voice in musical theatre and was fascinated by the cult status this piece had attained! The age range of the characters made it a perfect fit for our students."
Bussert approached Chicago-based director and choreographer Jon Martinez to helm Be More Chill. "New musicals have always been my main focus as a director and choreographer, so when (Bussert) asked me if I was interested...I jumped at the chance to stage this regional premiere, to introduce an audience to a little known musical," said Martinez. "Of course that was before the off-Broadway production hit, and then their subsequent transfer to Broadway. It certainly is intimidating to know that as we are creating a version of this show, another is being created in America's highest form of theatre...Broadway."
But Martinez didn't let that stop him from facing the challenge head-on. "Of all the musicals I've done, this is one of the shows I feel is in my bones. It sounds like high school. The characters seem like people out of our own lives. It fills a void in the musical theatre geek in all of us. It makes sense to me that there is a big Broadway version happening and, in an alternate universe, there is another version. Our version. Totally different but just as chill."
Be More Chill is set for its Broadway opening this month (March). Featuring music and lyrics by Joe Iconis and book by Joe Tracz, the show played to sold-out houses during its off-Broadway run, and has already broken box office records during previews at the Lyceum Theatre.
Be More Chill is on stage at Playhouse Square's Allen Theatre Friday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 6, at 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 7, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at playhousesquare.org or by calling 216-241-6000.