High note: This show is one of the hottest tickets in New York right now. The remainder of the off-Broadway run is totally sold out and there are rumors of a move to Broadway. So how did I get in? I won the Today Tix (@todaytix #todaytix) ticket lottery. I’ve won many of these and will continue to enter for shows in the future. You should download the app wherever it is available and use it for rush and lottery tickets. It is especially helpful in New York City and many other theater markets. You can’t win if you do not enter. Try it today!
Be More Chill originated just a few years ago at the Two River Theater in New Jersey. It got mixed reviews but the producers liked it enough to make a cast recording. As usual these days, it was uploaded to the web and then unexpected magic happened. It went viral and young people thronged to it. Heartened by the response producers rented the Signature Theatre Diamond stage and fans snapped up tickets and it has become a phenomenon. The limited run is sold out through the end of September and rumors are rife it will move to Broadway. I must say the audience was skewed far younger than any I have seen in a long time.
So how was it? It is quite fresh and a little rough around the edges. It could use some judicious editing but then this is only the second outing, it needs some expert development. But the pop/rock score is infectious and the show a great deal of fun. The plot is perfect to attract young people to the theater. The familiar cool/non-cool students are updated for the digital age, even spoofing one scene from Bye Bye Birdie. The students want to join the Drama Club to meet pretty girls (I have some experience in this arena). Like today’s Mean Girls and Dear Evan Hansen, this show has resonated with young theatergoers. It offers the possibility that by swallowing a “squip” (a super computer in your bloodstream) that you can become cool. It makes sense when you see the show. I hate to burst their bubble but a long time ago Disney made a movie called The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes. Same concept, but this is MUCH funnier. It has real promise and the prospects are bright. If you get a chance to see it, do it now.
Low Note: Anyone who knows me realizes my fetish for getting anywhere early. Not on time. Early. I left extra time so I could have some empanadas in the excellent Signature Theatre Lobby when going to see this show. It took 30 minutes to get by bus from my home to 181st Street where a truncated A train was waiting because of construction. That train then sat for 25 minutes underground with no way out in the midst of the Upper West Side tunnel. The show was scheduled for 7:30 and the train finally let me out at 59th Street at 7:22. A quick taxi ride (good driver) was finally stopped by traffic a long block from the theater. I got out and ran (it wasn’t pretty) to the theatre and got to my seat at 7:34. Unheard of. Over decades of theater going and through many hundreds of shows seen I have never experienced this. The show started less than a minute later and I was still panting at the downbeat. NEW YORK CITY DESERVES BETTER THAN THE MTA.
NEXT: I get a fashion blog gig – hope it goes well!