Be More Chill

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Name(s): Be More Chill
Abbreviation(s): BMC
Scope/Focus: Musical
Date(s): Book published in 2005

Original Musical run in June 2015 Off-Broadway run in August 2018

Broadway Run in March 2019
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Be More Chill is a musical by Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz.[1] It was adapted from a book of the same name by Ned Vizzini. The musical follows Jeremy Heere, a nerdy highschooler, who takes a pill that contains a supercomputer that will help him act cooler, called a SQUIP.

History

The musical originally ran from May 30 to June 21 at the Two River Theater in Red Bank New Jersey and was given a cast album thanks to Ghostlight Records.[1] Despite being released off-off-Broadway, the show gained an avid following on Tumblr in 2017, largely due to fanartists and others in the general umbrella fandom for Musical Theater . This popularity was extremely unprecedented, given the brief run and lack of mainstream success of the original production. Due the streaming, the show's following gained more attention from the show creators. In the early days of the fandom, there was much interaction between the musical's creators and the original cast with the fandom online. According to accounts from fans, Joe Tracz read at least one BMC fanfic and contacted the author with positive comments.

This article or section needs expansion.

The creators have been open that the high streaming numbers that the BMC album gained were one of the main factors that allowed them to gain financial support for a revival of the musical.

The show later was revived and given an Off-Broadway run. There were some cast changes, most significantly the casting of Will Roland as Jeremy, who was already well-known in musical theater fandom for the role of Jared Kleinman that he originated in Dear Evan Hansen. The musical later transferred to for a Broadway run, beginning in March 2019. There were changes in content in both the Off-Broadway production and the final Broadway production, which included new songs. The Broadway show ran through August 2019.

Characters

Fandom

The explosion of BMC's popularity in 2017, despite it being a local, years-old production that had not had significant success, may be attributed to Galactibun, a BNF fanartist who had gained popularity due to their Hamilton (musical) animatics, moving to BMC fandom, thus leading many Musical Theater fans to follow. There is also significant crossover with Dear Evan Hansen fandom, likely due to similar themes. Galactibun's character designs, art style, and animatics were hugely influential in the fandom.

Be More Chill fanworks first appeared on Archive of Our Own in February 2017. Be More Chill became one of AO3's top 5 most Theater fandoms in October 2017 when it hit over 2,300 works[2]. By the end of 2017 it had over 3,000 works. During 2018 it became the third-most popular Theater fandom, after Hamilton and Les Miserables, and ended the year with over 5,200 works.

The fandom is primarily centered around the musical. While the fandom gained popularity quickly, there was a significant lack of actual content to base the fandom on. There was the recorded original cast album, but because the show had had such a limited run and was no longer running, there was very little of the content that musical fandoms generally rely on, such as bootlegs, promotional materials, and the cast's social media. The book that musical is based on, written by Ned Vizzini, is sometimes used as supplemental material for the musical fandom. However, fans are usually warned the the book is significantly different from the musical, and contains some casual sexism and racism.

Popular pairings include Jeremy Heere/Michael Mell (Also called Boyf riends, or Meremy), Rich Goranski/Jake Dillinger (Also called Height Diffrences or Richjake), and Brooke/Chloe (Also called Pinkberry). Michael/Rich became more popular in response to the Off-Broadway production. Ask blogs for specific characters or AUs are popular.

The Off-Broadway revival of the show is sometimes known as BMC 2.0, and the Broadway production is known as BMC 3.0, in order to distinguish between canon changes such as music, dialogue, characterization, etc.

Character Design

Characters in fanart were initially largely based on the actors in the Two River Theater production. After the announcement of the Off-Broadway cast, which included some returning actors and some new, approaches to character design became more varied, and some racebent. One of the most significant changes was the role of Jeremy, previously portrayed by Will Connolly, now being played by Will Roland. Jeremy fanart began to look more like Roland or a combination of Roland and Connolly.

Tropes & Fanon

  • Sexuality: Fanon widely considers Jeremy bisexual and Michael gay. Headcanons that Jake is bisexual, Christine is asexual, and Brooke and Chloe are bisexual are also common.
  • Other Identities: Michael is widely considered to be Filipino and Ecuadorian like George Salazar, the actor who portrayed him from Two River Theater to Broadway. Trans Jeremy or Michael are also somewhat popular headcanons.

Controversies

Audience Behavior

Original Production vs. Broadway Run

The Broadway run of Be More Chill was met with mixed reviews from fans and largely negative reviews from theater critics. Some felt as though changes were made to pander to the online fandom rather than to improve the work as a whole and that characters were less like their original versions and acted more like caricatures of themselves. Others found it exacerbated problems present in the original run, most notably poorly written female characters.

2019 Tony Awards

The Broadway production only received one Tony nomination with Joe Iconis being nominated for Best Original Score. The award went to Anaïs Mitchell for Hadestown. Many fans were disappointed and felt the show had been snubbed. The show did not perform on the Tonys, but the song Michael in the Bathroom was parodied in a sketch, which also disappointed fans.

Example Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Fanart

Animatics

Ask Blogs

Fanfiction

Links & Resourcs

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 [1].
  2. Fandoms on AO3, archived October 10 2017