BWW Review: BE MORE CHILL at Empire Arts Center
For this review I decided to take a road trip up to Grand Forks and I can tell you all this is was worth it. For those of you not familiar with this show, that just opened on Broadway this year, this is based on a 2004 book of the same name written by Ned Vizzini. This tells the story of Jeremy Heere who is an average teenager. That is, until he finds out about "The Squip" - a tiny supercomputer that promises to bring him everything he desires most. This is a great show, although it may not be family friendly due to some language etc. I had never heard of the show until this week and I was sure to not read or listen to anything about it before I attended.
First off I do have to mention the Pit, which only had 6 members and did an amazing job.
This is only a 10 member cast and each one of them was wonderful in their part. So lets jump right into it, my standouts.
Christopher Knutson as Jeremy Heere was an excellent choice for the lead. He has great stage presence and and equally great voice. Some of his many standouts were More Than Survive, Two-Player Game which was one of my favorites in the show, Upgrade and Voices In My Head.
Casey Hennessy as Michael Mell, Jeremy's best friend, was so good in this role. His acting and singing were both top notch. A few of his standout performances were Two-Player Game, The Pants Song and probably my favorite performance of the night Michael in the Bathroom.
Chloe Bellione as Christine Canigula was a great character. Chloe can act and sing and she played the part perfectly. Her performance on I Love Play Rehearsal was so much fun and I also really enjoyed her on A Guy That I'd Be Kinda Into.
Nicholas Schons as The Squip did a phenomenal job. I have been lucky enough to see Nicholas in previous shows and I knew I was in for a treat when I saw his name on the cast list. He was born to play this role and you can tell he had fun with it. His on stage interactions with Christopher are great and he got to show off his singing on Be More Chill and Pitiful Children.
Justin Dela Cruz as Rich Goranski, the guy who introduces Jeremy to The Squip, was a fun character and I really enjoyed his performance on The Squip Song.
Walter Criswell got to do triple duty as Jeremy's Dad, Mr. Reyes and Scary Stockboy. He was hilarious as Scary Stockboy in which I think he mixed in a little Jack Black to his character. He also did a great job on The Pants Song.
I also need to mention Zachary Sanders as Jake Dillinger. We didn't get o hear any solos from Zachary but his acting was great and Jake was a fun character.
Last but not least I can't forget The Girls: Chloe Valentine, Brooke Lohst and Jenna Rolan played respectively by Natalie Miranda Shea, Erin Chaves and Katie Germain. The girls got to shine together on The Smartphone Hour, which was such a fun song. We also got to hear some solo performances by Brooke & Chloe (Erin & Natalie) on Do You Wanna Ride and Chloe (Natalie) did an amazing job on Do You wanna Hang?
Congrats to the whole cast & grew on a great production. I highly recommend this show and you still have chances to see it during the final weekend.