‘Be More Chill’ is a phenomenal musical about teen angst, self identity and the impact social disconnection has on the generation
Be More Chill may have closed on Broadway this past weekend, but it’s just ramping up at The Island Theater in Fleming Island and how lucky the fan base is that it is. Be More Chill is a musical with a unique history. It opened on Off Broadway and closed without making the leap to Broadway only to be revived two years later by popular demand. It’s second Off Broadway run quickly turned into a more than respectable Broadway run and a Tony nomination for creators Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz. For those who didn’t have the means or time to travel to NY, The Island Theater is the place to see this phenomenal musical about teen angst, self identity and the impact social disconnection has on the generation.
The story centers around a teen named Jeremy Heere (Edward Bazzell) as he finds himself with a growing desire to be more than just a background character in his own story. As he begins to finally pursue his heart’s desire Christine (Emily Poehlman), he finds he’s a little too late as high school jock, Jake (Brandon Flach) has stepped in and made a play for the quirky girl. Poehlman’s energetic and zany portrayal of the character makes it obvious why both Jake and Jeremy would want to compete for her heart.
That’s when the story takes a Little Shop of Horrors-esque turn as the Artificial Intelligence aka The Squip (Nikolas Wendorf) suddenly appears and offers to make Jeremy’s dreams come true for the small price of total submission and abandonment of his old life and only true friend, Michael (Angelo Goderre). As the representations of good and evil in Jeremy’s life, Goderre shines with humanity as he croons the show’s anthem Michael in the Bathroom as Wendorf truly dominates the scenes where he is controlling the fates of characters as the audience sits waiting to see who will win over Jeremy in the end.
Newcomer to The Island – Edward Bazzell plays the part of Jeremy with so many levels – even at the character’s whiniest moments – the audience feels his emotional pain and joy as the plot twists and turns. Paired with a particularly strong soliloquy song that resonates and punctuates the end of Act One as he belts out the Act One finale with chilling commitment as he takes a darker path to his try and reach his goal.
Be More Chill at The Island Theater is filled with consistent and strong performers doing more than justice to the pop music score with new and fresh choreography by Caitlin Charrier. Peppered with college aged performers from Florida School of the Arts and FSU – the show is cast with just the right balance to maintain the high energy necessary for this science fiction/teen angst musical.
Saturday night’s audience was filled with superfans of the show who were not disappointed by the fast paced presentation. However, despite its high school setting, the show does cover adult content and Act 2 is filled with profanity so it is not a show for minors.
The Island Theater is located in Fleming Island right across from Fleming Island High School. Seating is general admission so be sure to arrive early for best seating choice. Get your tickets online at www.theislandtheater.com or call 904-254-1455 to reserve tickets. Be More Chill runs through August 25th with Thursday, August 15th’s performance serving as a benefit performance for Mental Health Awareness. If Saturday’s sold out show was any indication – waiting might make it hard to Be More Chill.