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Be More Chill Summary

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A picture of the theater it originated in.

A picture of the theater it originated in.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

A picture of the theater it originated in.

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Be More Chill began as a novel published in 2004 by author Ned Vizzini. In 2015, the book had its own musical adaptation made with music and lyrics by Joe Iconis and its own original cast, featuring Will Connolly (Jeremy), Stephanie Hsu (Christine), George Salazar (Michael), and Eric William Morris (the Squip). At first, the storyline seems to follow a basic format, with the main character being a bullied high schooler who only wants the attention of a girl he likes, but the plot develops and quickly shows why the musical earned so much attention.

Information about the main character is first provided in the beginning song, “More Than Survive”. Jeremy Heere avoids his bullies throughout the school day until he meets with his best friend, Michael Mell. While Jeremy and Michael are talking, they notice Christine Canigula walking through the hallway to sign up for the school play. Jeremy’s goal has been to have Christine notice him, so he signs up for the play as well.

In scene two, Jeremy walks to the play rehearsal room and sees Christine inside. After  some dialogue between the two, Christine begins “I Love Play Rehearsal,” a song where she shows her erratic and cheerful personality. After, Jeremy accidentally meets Rich in the school bathroom. When Jeremy tries to leave the bathroom to avoid his school bully, Rich confronts him and tells him to buy a squip, a Japanese pill that will implant in his brain and teach him how to be popular. Rich was unpopular until he used the squip himself. That night, Jeremy meets with Michael to debate about if he should really buy the pill (“Two-Player Game”); ultimately, they decide to try it and, on Monday, end up buying the squip from a shady employee at the mall.

Jeremy swallows the pill with Mountain Dew (as directed by the employee who sold him the squip) but notices no immediate difference. As Jeremy stays in the food court, regretting spending his, “…bar mitzvah money on a Wintergreen Tic-tac”, Michael goes to a store to buy discontinued Pepsi from an employee. This seems like an unimportant detail now but is foreshadowing for a larger piece of the plot. After Michael leaves the scene, Jeremy’s squip activates and starts to help guide Jeremy through the mall until he runs into Chloe and Brooke “(Be More Chill Part 1”). After they see how Jeremy has changed, the two offer him a car ride in “Do You Wanna Ride?” Jeremy rejects them so he can wait for Michael, but the squip reminds him that Jeremy needs to follow exact orders if he wants to succeed.

A few days later, in the song, “Upgrade”, Jeremy runs into Michael again and Michael finds out that the squip really worked. But, Jeremy decides to activate what the squip calls “optic nerve blocking”, which causes him to ignore Michael, now only a burden to Jeremy. With this, act one ends and act two starts with “Halloween Party”.

In this song, Jake throws a party and invites all other students. During the party, Jeremy sees Michael for the first time in weeks after the upgrade. Michael tries warn him of information he found proving that squips were dangerous, but Jeremy leaves to talk to Christine. The next day, Jeremy finds out that Rich set Jake’s house on fire after Jeremy left the party, and he becomes suspicious of his squip.

On the day of the play, Jeremy’s squip takes over his body and begins to give squip pills to all his peers to “make them happier” (“The Play”). Later, Jeremy regains control to see all the squipped play members acting on stage and panics until Michael runs backstage. Michael then gives Jeremy the only cure to deactivate the squip: discontinued Mountain Dew Red. The school play ends and all actors mob around Jeremy, spilling all but one drop of the drink . When Jeremy is about to drink it, squipped Christine arrives and says that she loves him. Jeremy, knowing she wasn’t the real Christine, gives her the Mountain Dew. After drinking it, Christine emits a scream so loud that it deactivates all the other squips.

In the final song, “Voices in My Head”, Jeremy talks to Rich, who has reverted back to his awkward, original self, and gains confidence to ask out Christine. Jeremy still hears the faint voice of his squip in his head but now ignores it and lives life with his own will; Jeremy starts dating Christine and they are happy without popularity.

Be More Chill has a unique and quirky atmosphere unlike any other musical; the storyline escalates quickly and becomes unrealistic at some parts, but these details only add to the performance’s humor. This appeal has caused many fans to petition for a revival of the production, and, because of the high demand, the show is now open in New Jersey. The current cast is different from the 2015 actors, but they still accurately capture the personalities of each character and how they respond to the struggles of high school.

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Be More Chill Summary