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Be More Chill Cast Reveal Their High School Obsessions, Dream Roles, & If They Would Take the Squip to Be Cool

January 23rd, 2019 by

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Be More Chill Cast Reveal Their High School Obsessions, Dre…

Photo by Maria Baranova

Broadway is about to get a lot cooler thanks to the new musical phenomenon Be More Chill

. Set at a New Jersey high school, the contemporary Joe Iconis musical tells the story of nerdy Jeremy who takes a mysterious pill known as Squip to become cool. BroadwayBox caught up with the Be More Chill stars and asked each of them to look back on their own high school experiences doing theatre, slaying the big roles, and dreaming of NYC stardom.

Will Roland (Jeremy)

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Cast recording you were completely obsessed with in high school: Into the Woods for most of it.
Role you SLAYED in high school: I played Marius in Les Miz. The last time I played a romantic lead was 13 years ago!
Dream role you wanted to move to New York and set Broadway on fire with:  For a long time I really wanted to play Elder Cunningham in Mormon, but now I don’t want to do that as much as I used to.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: Just be nice to people. You’re funny, stop trying to be so funny.
Would you have taken the pill to be cool in high school? I don’t think I would have. I think I would have felt this sense of superiority like, “I don’t need that. That’s for weak people.” Which is part of my problem.

Jason Tam (The Squip)

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Cast recording you were completely obsessed with in high school: Rent. I was truly obsessed. I could sing the entire thing front to back on my own, every single part.
Role you SLAYED in high school: Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and The Baker in Into the Woods. Those were my two breakout high school roles.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York and set Broadway on fire with:  I had it in my head that I wanted to play Tommy in Tommy. It’s something I never even auditioned for since then, but at the time I thought I have to play Tommy.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: I would have told myself to wash his face more. I didn’t wash my face enough and I feel my life would have been so much better if I just washed my face every day. That’s all.
Would you have taken the pill to be cool in high school? High school Jason would have 100% taken this pill to be more chill. Absolutely! I don’t think I would do it now, but I’d consider it.

George Salazar (Michael)

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Cast recording you were completely obsessed with in high school: Little Shop of Horrors.
Role you SLAYED in high school: I only did one and it was Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York and set Broadway on fire with:  …Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors. This feels like a campaign to play Seymour in a revival of Little Shop of Horors, but it’s not, I promise.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: Settle down! Stop caring so much what everybody thinks of you. Come out to your parents. Be proud of all the things you are because every weird thing about you is what makes you such a special person and is what ends up making all your dreams come true.
Would you have taken the pill to be cool in high school? High school George would have taken a pill to be cool. I used to care so much what everybody thought of me that I would shape shift. At lunch, I never sat with one group of people. I would eat very quickly and then do rounds at all the tables like a congressman or an artistic director at a donor’s event.

Stephanie Hsu (Christine)

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Cast recording you were completely obsessed with in high school: I really loved Assassins when I was in high school. Very edgy.
Role you SLAYED in high school: I played Mrs. Meers in Thoroughly Modern Millie, which is very complicated. Let’s not unpack that now, but that was my first foray into the theatre.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York and set Broadway on fire with: I honestly did not expect this life to be a part of my life. I thought I’d do experimental theatre—whatever that means. I always loved the idea of originating roles.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: I’d say never be afraid to shine your light expansively and with grace.
Would you have taken the pill to be cool in high school? I think I would not have. I was really good at talking about feelings.

Gerard Canonico (Rich)

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Cast recording you were completely obsessed with in high school: I was absolutely obsessed with Footloose in high school, and probably grade school too.
Role you SLAYED in high school: I was in Spring Awakening [on Broadway] when I was in high school, but I got to do Charlie Brown in my high school a few times, and that was a really fun time. I did it with a core group of my best friends and created a theatre program through that—which has blossomed into 50 or 60 kids now, and it started with only five of us.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York and set Broadway on fire with:  When I was in high school, I was a Renthead and so I wanted really, really badly to play Roger on Broadway, but it closed. But I got to do it later on in life in Aruba, so that was pretty cool!
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: I’d like to give high school Gerard permission to give himself a break. I was pretty hard on myself in high school and I cared very much what people thought of me, and I probably acted incorrectly toward people I shouldn’t have. I learned a lot through that and I used music to get through that hardship.
Would you have taken the pill to be cool in high school? I wouldn’t have taken it to be cool, but maybe to change my state of mind if I was feeling really sad or something like that.

Lauren Marcus (Brooke)

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Cast recording you were completely obsessed with in high school: Big River.
Role you SLAYED in high school: Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie. Side note, I also played Kim and then I got cast as Kim again but had to drop out because my parents didn’t want me driving in the ice.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York and set Broadway on fire with: Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: I would give anything to go back and say, “Stop being afraid!” I don’t know if I would have followed it, but if I just talked more and stopped being so nervous what other people thought of me, it would have made everything easier and better.
Would you have taken the pill to be cool in high school? I think I would have…

Tiffany Mann (Jenna)

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Cast recording you were completely obsessed with in high school: The Hairspray cast album.
Role you SLAYED in high school: Hattie in Kiss Me, Kate.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York and set Broadway on fire with: Effie White in Dreamgirls.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: Trust the process. Take your time. Your journey is not going to look like everyone else’s, but keep going.
Would you have taken the pill to be cool in high school? No! I was weird and it was great.

Katlyn Carlson (Chloe)

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Cast recording you were completely obsessed with in high school: Rent, easily.
Role you SLAYED in high school: Winnifred in Once Upon A Matress.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York and set Broadway on fire with: Lady M.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: Train. Learn how to take care of your voice; learn how to steam; learn to warm up every day. Your 30s self will love you for it.
Would you have taken the pill to be cool in high school? If I knew what the cure was absolutely.

Britton Smith (Jake)

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Cast recording you were completely obsessed with in high school: Spring Awakening actually. It was one of the first things I heard. And Billy Porter on the Grease album. I had never heard a voice so insane.
Role you SLAYED in high school: I wasn’t a theatre person in high school. I was trying to be Usher when I was in high school.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: Don’t lie so much. You don’t have to lie to be cool—your parents aren’t from France, you’re actually broke, and you’re not straight. Don’t lie!
Would you have taken the pill to be cool in high school? The old me definitely would have. But now, absolutely not. I would tell my kid not to take the pill, and just be whatever the thing that he or she or they is and rock that. Weird is cool, especially now. No one wants to be normal anymore.

Jason “SweetTooth” Williams (Jeremy’s Dad/Mr. Reyes)

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Cast recording you were completely obsessed with in high school: I was obsessed with Sunday in the Park with George.
Role you SLAYED in high school: Mitch from A Streetcar Named Desire.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York and set Broadway on fire with:   At the time, I had hair, and I thought if I had a chance to get my hands on Booth from Assassins, I would just destroy it.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: I would say don’t sweat it. It will happen for you as long as you keep plugging away. Also, don’t spend so much money on drama school—go to community college.
Would you have taken the pill to be cool in high school? No, I think I would have been too cool for the squip.—like when a band gets famous and you’re over it.

'Be More Chill' begins previews at Broadway'sLyceum Theatre on February 13.