BWW Reviews: BE MORE CHILL at TRT is Terrific New Musical Theater

BWW Reviews:  BE MORE CHILL at TRT is Terrific New Musical Theater

Be More Chill, a World Premiere musical, is now at Two River Theater (TRT) through June 28th. It is an immensely clever show with broad appeal. The production is an exciting close to TRT's very successful season. It's no wonder that audiences love it.

The show is directed by Stephen Brackett, with music and lyrics by Joe Iconis and choreography by Chase Brock. The book is by Joe Tracz based on the popular novel by Ned Vizzini. This powerhouse team has done an outstanding job of debuting Be More Chill for metropolitan area audiences.

In the show, Jeremy Heere is just an average teenager until he finds out about "The Squip," a tiny supercomputer that promises to bring him everything he desires including a date with the girl of his dreams, Christine. With the squip and an invitation to one of the best parties of the year, Jeremy has a chance to survive suburban life in his New Jersey high school and morph from being a self-conscious teen into one of the cool guys.

The setting is filled all the likely characters. But Be More Chill is by no means a typical show about high school. It's a vibrant, inventive musical that makes the most of every moment and features an abundantly talented cast.

Will Connolly plays Jeremy who is desperate to change his future. Connolly nails the teen role with the right measure of humor and angst. George Salazar plays Michael, Jeremy's loyal friend who also struggles with being a school nerd. Stephanie Hsu is perfect as Christine, the conflicted yet exuberant teen who loves performing in school plays. Jake Boyd plays Jake, the typical school jock that seems to have it all. Jenna Rolan plays Katie, the classic school gossip. The vivacious, popular girls are portrayed by Katlyn Carlson as Chloe and Lauren Marcus as Brooke. Gerard Canonico plays Rich, another high school student who pinned his hopes on the squip. Paul Whitty plays multiple roles but is the most memorable as Jeremy's dad. Eric William Morris plays the role of The Squip, a supernatural alter ego force that can guide Jeremy to social success. This cast is ideal in their roles. They each deliver memorable performances that include wonderful vocal talents.

Witty, yet thoughtful songs abound in the production like the compelling opening number, More than Survive by Jeremy, Michael and the Ensemble; The Squip Song by Rich and the Ensemble; Upgrade featuring Brooke, The Squip, Jake, Christina, Jeremy and the Ensemble; Michael in the Bathroom by Michael and The Pants Song by Dad and Michael.

The show is highlighted by excellent musicianship thanks to Orchestrator and Musical Supervisor, Charlie Rosen and the Music Director, Nathan Dame.

A fine creative team for Be More Chill has been assembled with scenic design by Dane Laffrey, costume design by Bobby Frederick Tilley, lighting design by Tyler Micholeau, sound design by Zachary Williamson and fight direction by UnkleDave's Fight-House. The casting is by Adam Caldwell and the production stage manager is Amanda Michaels.

Be More Chill has just the right touch of fantasy and fun to captivate the audience. Tell your family and friends. This is the one to see before summer goes into full swing.

Ticket prices range from $37 to $65 with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance and $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include best available seats at every performance. Tickets are available by calling (732) 345-1400 or by visiting www.tworivertheater.org.

Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson

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From This Author Marina Kennedy

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