Be More Chill: A Review

Over the past week, the Sacred Heart University Theatre Arts Program put on Be More Chill, a 2015 musical production that is based on a 2004 novel of the same name by Ned Vizzini. The show had ten cast members consisting of six males and four females. Standout performances included junior Bradly Taylor as Jeremy Heere, sophomore Justin Weigel as The Squip, and freshman Johannah Johnson as Christine Canigula.

Be More Chill follows high school student Jeremy Heere as he embarks on a quest to become more popular. In order to achieve this goal, he takes a pill that contains a supercomputer called a Squip.  At first, things seem to be going well; he scores a hot girlfriend named Brooke, played by sophomore Rachel Dufresne, but eventually he starts ignoring his best friend Michael, played by sophomore Jake Dodle, and the Squip starts to become more controlling of his behavior.   

Be More Chill provides a great balance between being a very funny and heartwarming show because of its message of not sacrificing who you are for the sake of being popular. In addition, many of the songs are very catchy. Some of my personal favorites are The Squip Song, The Pitiful Children, and Voices in Head. The set for this show was very basic with the only permanent props comprising a large platform that contained the Squip’s chair and a computer for the numerous projections, eight TV monitors, twelve lockers and nine black folding chairs. One of the aspects of Be More Chill that I found very interesting was that all the actors remained onstage for most of the show, leaving only twice during the second act. The reason for this is that most of the songs feature some ensemble bits as well and so it would have been weird for the actors to leave in the middle of a number only to come back for their part later on. This also meant that the actors often had to change on stage itself so most of their costumes were layered. Also unusual for a Little Theatre musical, there was a four-piece live band, which added to the light-hearted atmosphere of the show.

Be More Chill was directed by Jerry Goehring, musically directed by Leo Carusone, and produced by senior Sophia Borrego. It was stage managed by junior Whitney Bibens, assistant directed by sophomore Andrew Peloquin and senior Mackenzie Page, and assistant musically directed by Henley Solomon. Lastly, due to the tech-centric nature of the show, Be More Chill wouldn’t have been possible without the sound/projection design by sophomores Matthew Krecckie and Sven Vogel, and lighting design by junior Kevin McVeigh.   

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Be More Chill and getting to once again witness the hard work and incredible talent of the TAP students here at Sacred Heart!