In a few short days, Be More Chill will start previews on Broadway, in what has become one of the most remarkable journeys to Broadway in recent years.
In 2015, Be More Chill, based on the book of the same name by Ned Vizzini ran for a month at Two River Theater in New Jersey. Nothing remarkable came out of the production, other than a cast album that was released in October 2015. But thanks to that digital album, the show began to gain attention from teenagers, the same people who were interested in Broadway hits Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton, as well as those who were fans of the off-Broadway musical adaption of Heathers. Animated videos, fan art, and more drew insane amounts of attention to the show, so much so that a limited off-Broadway run was planned for the summer of 2018.
This time last year, no one could have expected that Be More Chill would become the little musical that could, entirely selling out its run at the Signature Center, and announcing a Broadway engagement before the off-Broadway run ended. The fans, many of whom had fallen in love with the show based on animated videos on YouTube, or just the cast album were delighted to see one of their favorite shows grow in such a way. Be More Chill also expanded their fanbase, as people like myself (who had only heard one or two songs before) and parents who brought their kids were introduced to the show.
Will Be More Chill succeed on Broadway? Only time will tell. But for now, it is an example of the power of the internet and of the people, such as the producers, who believe that fans want to see this show in person. It is hopeful, and whether it plays for years or not, it has made a mark and changed the idea of how a show can get to Broadway.