Friday, May 8, 2015

‘Be More Chill’ a new musical concludes Two River Theater 2014/15 Season

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Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, concludes its 2014/15 Season with Be More Chill, a new musical with music and lyrics by Joe Iconis and book by Joe Tracz, based on the acclaimed 2004 novel by Ned Vizzini.  The production is directed by Stephen Brackett, with orchestrations by Charlie Rosen, music direction by Nathan Dame, and choreography by Chase Brock. The production will run May 30-June 21, 2015, with the opening night on Friday, June 5. Tickets starting at $20 are available from 732.345.1400 or Be More Chill is supported by lead production sponsor Durso Wealth Management Group at Morgan Stanley. 

Two River Theater commissioned Be More Chill in 2011 and has supported its development through readings, workshops, and artist residencies. The project is the largest musical and one of the most ambitious projects in the theater’s history.

Says Artistic Director John Dias, “I knew the sensibilities of Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz would blend beautifully and they would be the right team to adapt Be More Chill, which combines a cringingly real look at teenage life with techno-fantasy and wry humor. ‘The Joes’ create the perfect mix of emotional honesty and bad-ass cool—so key when writing about the popularity battleground that is an American high school.”

Jeremy Heere (played by Will Connolly, Once) is just an average teenager. That is, until he finds out about “The Squip” (Eric William Morris, Bloodsong of Love by Joe Iconis)—a tiny supercomputer that promises to bring him everything he desires most: a date with Christine (Stephanie Hsu, Winners), an invite to the raddest party of the year and a chance to survive life in his suburban New Jersey high school. But is being the most popular guy in school worth the risk?

The company of Be More Chill will also feature Jake Boyd (Rock of Ages) as Jake, Gerard Canonico (Spring Awakening) as Rich, Katlyn Carlson (Dirty Dancing) as Chloe, Katie Ladner (Heathers: The Musical) as Jenna Rolan, Lauren Marcus (The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks) as Brooke, George Salazar (Godspell) as Michael, and Paul Whitty (Once) as Jeremy’s Dad.

The six-piece orchestra includes Nathan Dame (Conductor and Keyboard), Danny Jonokuchi (Trumpet), Dan McMillan (Drums/Percussion), Josh Plotner (Reeds), Mike Rosengarten (Guitar) and Amanda Ruzza (Bass). 

Joe Iconis is a musical theater writer and a fixture on the New York cabaret scene. He has been nominated for two Drama Desk Awards and a Lucille Lortel Award, and is the recipient of an Ed Kleban Award, a Jonathan Larson Award, an ASCAP Harold Adamson Lyric Award, and a MAC John Wallowitch Songwriting Award. His songs appeared on season two of NBC’s Smash and he is the author of The Black Suits, the rock-and-roll Spaghetti Western musical Bloodsong of Love, The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks and other musicals.

Joe Tracz’s adaptation of the first book in the Percy Jackson series, The Lightning Thief (with composer Rob Rokicki) received a Lortel nomination for Outstanding Musical and is now touring nationally with TheatreWorks USA. With Chill collaborator Joe Iconis, he is developing a live stage version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid to premiere at Children’s Theatre Company in 2016. His plays have been developed with Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage, Roundabout, Ars Nova, the Flea, and Playwrights Realm, and published in Best American Short Plays

Ned Vizzini (1981-2013) was the bestselling author of acclaimed young-adult books including It’s Kind of a Funny Story (also a major motion picture), Teen Angst? Naaah… and Be More Chill.

Director Stephen Brackett is a New York City-based director of new plays and musicals. His recent credits include Jonathan Tolins’ Buyer & Cellar (Rattlestick and Barrow Street Theaters/National Tour/London’s Menier Chocolate Factory), Anton Dudley’s City Of (The Playwrights Realm), and Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief (Theatreworks USA).

Chase Brock choreographed Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and received a Lortel Award nomination for The Blue Flower at Second Stage. He is the Artistic Director of The Chase Brock Experience and the subject of the documentary film Chasing Dance.

Orchestrator and Musical Supervisor Charlie Rosen’s recent Broadway credits include The Visit (guitar, mandolin, and zither) and Honeymoon in Vegas (orchestrations, Drama Desk nomination). His 17-piece jazz orchestra Charlie Rosen’s Broadway Big Band is currently in residence at 54 Below. 

Music Director Nathan Dame’s credits include A Little Night Music (Berkshire Theatre Group), Pretty Filthy (The Civilians), and The Lightning Thief (Theatreworks USA).

The creative team for Be More Chill includes scenic designer Dane Laffrey, costume designer Bobby Tilley, and lighting designer Tyler Micoleau. The sound design is by Zachary Williamson, the fight direction is by UnkleDave’s Fight-House, the casting is by Adam Caldwell, and the production stage manager is Amanda Michaels

Ticket Information

Ticket prices range from $37 to $65, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include the best available seats at every performance. Tickets are available from or 732.345.1400.

Bob & Joan Rechnitz Theater, Two River Theater, Red Bank, New Jersey Inside Two River

Inside Two River is a series of events specially curated for each Two River Theater production. For more information or to reserve seats, patrons should visit or call 732.345.1400

Making it on Broadway: How to Launch a Career in Musical Theater

Wednesday, May 13 at 7pm in the Rechnitz Theater

Cast members from Be More Chill will discuss their training, career paths, and the shows they’ve been in so far, and answer questions from the audience. Cast members scheduled to appear include Jake Boyd, Gerard Canonico, Stephanie Hsu, Katie Ladner, Eric William Morris, George Salazar and Paul Whitty.

Be More Chill with The Navesink
Wednesday, June 10 at 5:30pm
Guest Speaker David Orban will speak about technology and humanity in a TEDx-style pre-show talk, which will also feature light fare from Sickles Market. For information, call 732.345.1400 or visit

Book Club: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Sunday, June 16 at 5:30pm in the Victoria Mastrobuono Library (following the 3pm performance) 

We were all teenagers once, and chances are we all remember the moments of awkwardness and pain that are almost unavoidable in that tricky age. Both The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Be More Chill paint portraits of the awkward years that are equal parts hilarious, cringe-worthy, and heartbreaking. Literary Manager Anika Chapin will lead a discussion of the peculiar legacy of the teen years and changes in the portrayal of teens over time.

Audience Extras

Before Play and Lobby Display

Audiences will learn more about this production in Two River’s Before Play lecture series, which takes place 45 minutes prior to every performance, and Lobby Display.

Post-Play Conversations

Discussions with the cast and a member of Two River’s Artistic staff will take place on Wednesday, June 10 at 7 pm; Sunday, June 14 at 3pm; and Wednesday, June 17 at 1pm.


Working with Google, Two River has created and launched a virtual tour of its facility, which lives on Google Maps and This virtual tour provides an additional level of support and benefit for patrons who use wheelchairs or require other assistance by allowing them to virtually come through the theater’s front doors and view the space in detail in advance of their visit.

An ASL sign-interpreted performance is scheduled for Saturday, June 13 at 3pm; an audio-described performance is scheduled for Wednesday, June 17 at 1pm; and an open-captioned performance is scheduled for Saturday, June 20 at 3pm. Tickets are available at a discounted rate of $25 for patrons using these services. To reserve wheelchair-accessible seating or tickets to a performance listed above, patrons should call 732.345.1400 or e-mail


Saturday, May 30at 8pm

Sunday, May 31 at 3pm

Wednesday, June 3 at 1 pm and 7pm

Thursday, June 4 at 8pm

Friday, June 5 at 8pm (Opening Night)

Saturday, June 6 at 3pm and 8pm

Sunday, June 7 at 3pm

Wednesday, June 10 at 1pm and 7pm

Thursday, June 11 at 8pm

Friday, June12 at 8pm

Saturday, June 13 at 3pm and 8pm

Sunday, June 14 at 3pm

Wednesday, June 17 at 1pm and 7pm

Thursday, June 18 at 8pm

Friday, June 19 at 8pm

Saturday, June 20 at 3pm and 8pm

Sunday, June 21 at 3pm

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