BE MORE CHILL - DIRECTOR'S NOTES

Welcome to the explosive, zany, and exciting world of a Joe Iconis musical! We have had a very unique opportunity this fall to connect with Joe, who many consider one of New York City’s hottest musical theatre writers. Last year, we commissioned him to write a musical for this year’s senior musical theatre class (our first of a yearly commissioning project). We are receiving new information and rewrites almost daily as the show evolves and rehearses this fall. Stay tuned for details on that project and how you can see an early reading/concert in January 2017! The commissioned project has also given us the tremendous opportunity to produce a musical of Joe’s that is already finished - Be More Chill!

Be More Chill exemplifies a key tenet of Joe’s writing - the plight of the “everyperson.” Our protagonist, Jeremy, is the ultimate average, suburban, “un-special” kid. But he has a lesson to learn that is every bit as important as those of the dreamers and heroes that populate many musicals. The show explores themes that are central to this millennial generation and has powerfully intersected the artists in this particular cast. The very simple, but often elusive, message that “you are enough” sits at the heart of the piece. We don’t have to change who we are in order to be cool, to be popular, to land the girl or boy of our dreams, or to find success in our life and career. We simply have to “be more chill” and trust that others will value that humanity and individualism. It is a powerful message for all of us - and especially relevant for young artists going through their college experience.

Be More Chill has only been produced one time - its world premiere production in spring 2015 at Two River Theatre. We are thrilled to be the first of many upcoming productions - and grateful to both Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz for their support and involvement in our production process this fall. We also welcome Joe Iconis to the October 13 performance. He will give a post-show concert immediately after the performance ends that night!

I’ve had the honor of working with Joe Iconis and directing his musicals for many years. He has an uncanny ability to capture the thoughts and feelings of humans and write them in a way that nobody else can. There is an honesty, vulnerability, freedom, and abandon in his work that is one of the most liberating things I’ve had the privilege to watch artists inhabit over the years.  He writes like life - a little bit messy, a little bit bloody, but with a tremendous amount of heart.  It is some of the most exciting and unique work that the musical theatre has ever seen - and I’m thrilled that we have a chance to unleash that on the Penn State community this fall! Enjoy the show!             
~ John Simpkins

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