“Be More Chill,” the teen sci-fi musical with a unique path to the big stage, takes its final bow this August after nearly six months on Broadway.
The production that buzzed its way to the big stage this March thanks to a growing group of loyal fans on Reddit, Tumblr and Facebook, will play its final show at the Lyceum Theatre Aug. 11, composer Joe Iconis announced after the Thursday evening performance.
“I’m saddened that our show will conclude its historic run on Broadway on August 11, but I’m grateful it all even happened in the first place,” writes George Salazar, whose role in the production earned critical praise. Salazar was the voice behind the musical’s “Michael in the Bathroom,” a popular track that had much to do with its Broadway launch.
The teen favorite followed Jeremy Heere (Will Roland) on his quest to find popularity at a New Jersey high school. It made a mediocre premiere in New Jersey four years ago and closed after a four-week run, but it’s time off stage was crucial. Tumblr posts, YouTube videos and social media groups spread the story of Jeremy and his Keanu Reeves-inspired SQUIP (essentially a drug that implants itself in one’s mind). Young teens were singing Iconis’ music and lyrics without having ever seen the show. Its social buzz helped bring it Off-Broadway last September, where it sold out and eventually moved to The Great White Way.
“I think the gateway drug for ‘Be More Chill’ has been ‘Michael in the Bathroom,’ ” Iconis told amNewYork ahead of the production’s opening in March. “That’s a song that kids gravitate toward because they relate to what’s going on under the lyrics.”
The show’s ability to attract a younger audience to Broadway paid off in its opening weeks. While in previews, the show broke a house ticket sales records, tracked a 98-percent nightly sell-out and had to relocate its stage-door entrance to contain fan mobs. But, a concern from the start was whether or not steep Broadway ticket prices would hinder its success among a teenage audience.
“Together, we changed musical theatre. We changed how a musical lives, dies, and can live again — all the way to Broadway. You all and @BeMoreChill have changed my life. This journey has made me a better friend, a better artist, a better person,” Salazar writes.
“Be More Chill” only earned one Tony nomination this season, despite being parodied by James Corden, Sara Bareilles, Josh Groban and Neil Patrick Harris during the opening credits. Its looming closing was rumored among fans in social media forums, more so after a summer sale advertisement was posted to the Lyceum’s front doors last week.
The “Chill Summer” marketing promotion marks the end of the show’s Broadway shelf life, at least for now. Tickets for the show’s final performances are currently available at bemorechillmusical.com/tickets. Prices range from $49 for balcony seating to $165 for center orchestra.
The Aug. 11 show will mark “Be More Chill’s” 207th performance.
“I’m going to actually start sobbing,” one fan wrotes on Twitter
“You deserve more than 207,” another says.
Other fans are hoping the closing leaves the potential for a traveling “Be More Chill” tour, which has not been announced.
Broadway’s "The Prom" has also set its closing date for Aug. 11.