Fans have been waiting with bated breath for Be More Chill to finally arrive in New York, and their wishes have come true. Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz’s new musical about a New Jersey teenager who swallows a microchip called “The Squip” to fit in among his peers is now in previews with an opening set for August 9.
The show has been kicking around online for years, slowly and steadily building a cult-like following. Based on the novel by Ned Vizzini, the musical draws inspiration from sci-fi, horror, and teen films (think Little Shop of Horrors meets The Breakfast Club). According to producers, last year Tumblr ranked Be More Chill as the number two most talked-about musical on their platform, following Hamilton.
Jason Tam joins the cast as The Squip, a digital-age role unlike anything he’s ever played before. Jason made his Broadway debut as a Gavroche replacement in the original production of Les Misérables and has since appeared on Broadway in the revival of A Chorus Line (Paul), Lysistrata Jones (Xander), IF/THEN (David), as well as providing the community voiceover for Dear Evan Hansen. Jason chatted with Broadway Blog editor Matthew Wexler about his latest theatrical venture.
Be More Chill has had a long road to New York and the creative team has been tenacious in its efforts. How did you become involved with the production?
It came about through my professional relationship with Joe Iconis (music and lyrics) and also producer Jennifer Ashley Tepper. I’ve been doing concerts with Joe for more than 10 years, back at Ars Nova (before people knew about that venue!) as well as a workshop of a show of his called The Black Suits at the Public Theater. I learned how to play guitar, which was so much fun and we remained close ever since.