Be More Chill
|Name(s):||Be More Chill|
|Date(s):||Book published in 2005
Original Musical run in June 2015 Off-Broadway run in August 2018Broadway Run in March 2019
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Be More Chill is a musical by Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz. 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.
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. 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.
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.
- Jeremy Heere
- Michael Mell
- Christine Canigula
- The SQUIP
- Chloe Valentine
- Brooke Lohst
- Rich Goranski
- Jenna Rolan
- Jake Dillinger
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 and an actor, Will Roland, who was in both. 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. 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.
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. Sometimes, usually in stories where The Squip is not the antagonist, the squip is non-binary.
Status as a "Basic" Musical
Be More Chill is sometimes categorized as a "basic" musical along with Heathers, Hamilton, and Dear Evan Hansen. Due largely to their popularity online, all four shows tend to attract younger fans who may not have previously been into musical theatre. Some fans of other musicals found the attention these shows were getting over other musicals to be annoying and may consider some or all of them to be overrated. This leads to accusations that fans of these shows who do not branch out into listening to other musicals are fake fans of the art form as a whole.
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.
- Pride Month Icons by cryptidw00rm, which show the cast with some of the popular sexuality headcanons
- Some be more chill fanart! by cathy_drawing, featuring Jeremy and Michael with appearances based on both their West End and Broadway castings
- Be More Chill- The Play animatic, by ghostskyee
- "MICHAEL IN THE BATHROOM" - Be More Chill animatic, by trash cass
- the smartphone hour // animatic, by kiwichips
- Ask Guys Like Us, a Boyf riends College AU ask blog/fancomic where Michael and Jeremy are roommates.
- Contretemps by sassycasp, a Michael/Jeremy fic set during their senior year of high school (completed in 2017).
"Senior year is coming to a close. Jeremy's last theatre production at Middle Borough is this weekend. Everything goes to shit when he sees an email from his mother."
- is this a forest? 'cuz there sure is a lot of pine by reptilianraven. Takes place before, during and after the events of the musical and follows the development of Michael and Jeremy's relationship (with lots of Michael pining after Jeremy) with the recurring theme of Michael teaching Jeremy Tagalog, or speaking Tagalog around him (completed in 2017).
""How do you say ‘I love you’?”
“Oh, wow, holy shit,” Michael coughs. Is his face warm? It better fucking not be. Pull yourself together, Mell. Breathe. “Where’d this sudden romantic side of you come from?”
Jeremy, uncharacteristically calm, shrugs. “I figure it could be a nice icebreaker for Christine, or something? I don’t know. It’s stupid, you don’t have to tea—”
“Mahal kita,” Michael says. The things he does for this boy. This boy. “I love you in Tagalog is mahal kita.”
The misadventures of Michael Mell, pining best friend extraordinaire."
- who actually texts people this much by mathsgeek314 - post-canon chatfic, with the pairings Michael/Jeremy, Jake/Rich and Brooke/Chloe (completed in 2017).
Literally just the bmc gang texting each other a bunch of random stuff whilst they all try and figure out their problems
- Protector by DivineProjectZero (Jeremy Heere/Michael Mell, 46k, completed in 2017.) Set in an alternate universe in which the Squip never appears.
With Michael, he feels safe.
wherein Jeremy Heere is scared of girls and Michael Mell is his last line of defense.)
- Replaced by GreenNanoTech (Michael Mell/The Squip, 230k, completed in 2020).
Ever since the play Michael has felt a growing rift between himself and Jeremy. But when the SQUIP returns in human form Michael is determined to keep it away from his friend at all costs. What he isn't prepared for is the computer changing everything. For better, or worse?
Links & Resourcs
- Be More Chill works on AO3
- be more chill on Tumblr
- #BeMoreChill on Twitter
- #bemorechill on Instagram