BroadwayCon 2019 was pretty much the opposite of chill. Think packs of Mean Girls roaming the halls, a pop-up mall of Broadway-themed wares, and enthusiastic fans vying to get photos with their favorite Broadway stars (though, to be fair, many of those meet-and-greets had been solidified in advance). One of the highlights of the weekend was a panel with the cast of Be More Chill, one of most hotly anticipated shows headed to Broadway this season. But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, the cast didn’t know if it would ever see Broadway at all. Gerard Canonico thought back to the day Be More Chill’s New Jersey run came to a close and the future was unclear.
“When it ended since there was no traction, it was like ‘Ugh, man this thing was so good. At least we get a cast album, and at least somebody will listen to it,’” he shared. Listen they did – so much so that the show can now boast a cult-like following even before its first preview on the Great White Way.
Katlyn Carlson knew they had something great, even before it was Broadway-bound, however. “Doing the show in Two River, immediately felt really kind of special and different,” she recalled. “We had people coming back over and over like clockwork, people we could see singing along with the show to songs that didn’t exist outside of that room.”
Stephanie Hsu first realized how Be More Chill had cemented its place in musical theater during her run in Spongebob Squarepants on Broadway. “The first time I really, really realized it was at the stage door for Spongebob,” she said. “It was my first ever Broadway show, first stage door experience, and I walked out in the wintertime and there was this mom and her child and they were like, ‘Christiiiiiiiine!’ and I was like, ‘What. Is going on?!’ And they were like, ‘We love Be More Chill’ and I was like, ‘Did you see it in New Jersey?’ What’s going on?!”
George Salazar understood what they had achieved when their cast album climbed into the top 10 on the soundtrack charts. “This was a very unprecedented, special thing that was happening and I think we all felt the plates beneath us in the ground start to shift,” he remembered. “There was a really crazy moment, when the popularity of the show was beginning; it existed in the palm of our hands, it was just in our phones. And so seeing all of you here, is super overwhelming because seeing [the fan following] in person is way different from looking at numbers on a phone.” Amen to that.
Be More Chill starts previews on February 13 and tickets will be in play through Broadway Roulette.