Be More Chill: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert


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Watch Be More Chill play "The Pants Song", "A Guy That I'd Kinda Be Into", "Michael in the Bathroom" and "Voices in My Head" at the Tiny Desk.
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July 1, 2019 | Stephen Thompson -- From the moment they arrived for their Tiny Desk debut, the cast and crew of the Broadway musical Be More Chill radiated kind exuberance. They posed for selfies behind the desk, shared stories from the previous night's Tony Awards and clowned around with cast member Jason SweetTooth Williams, who'd torn a muscle in his leg 48 hours earlier and used a wheelchair to get from the charter bus to the desk and back.
The night before, Be More Chill had gone 0-for-1 at the Tonys, winding down a disappointing awards season. Even its big Tonys moment — a skit in which host James Corden parodied the musical's breakout song, "Michael in the Bathroom" — passed by without anyone bothering to name the source material.
But you wouldn't have known it the next morning, as the Be More Chill crew — composer Joe Iconis, all but three members of the principal cast and a handful of musicians, each of whom held a key role in shaping the musical's sound — bused from New York to NPR's D.C. headquarters. Their arrival was a genuine event: For our Sesame Street Tiny Desk concert earlier this summer, we'd encouraged our coworkers to bring their young children, but this time around, we asked for their teenagers — the young theater enthusiasts in their lives, and anyone else they knew who'd fallen under the spell of Be More Chill and its pair of prolifically streamed cast albums. (Set to wiry, hard-driving synth-rock music, the show has been a true cult phenomenon, with an intense online following and one of the youngest audiences Broadway has ever seen. But its ticket sales waned and the show is now scheduled to close August 11.)
Each song they performed at the Tiny Desk tapped into a key plot point from Be More Chill, which tells the story of Jeremy, an average high-school geek whose life is upended when he swallows a pill-sized supercomputer that teaches him how to improve his social standing, albeit at the expense of his closest relationships and mental well-being.
On the Broadway stage, Be More Chill has been a playful burst of frenetic energy and silly, stealthy sweetness. At the Tiny Desk, it holds onto that rowdy, generous spirit while peeling off bells and whistles to reveal some remarkably sturdy songcraft. In any form, it's a joy to behold.
"The Pants Song"
"A Guy That I'd Kinda Be Into"
"Michael in the Bathroom"
"Voices in My Head"
Joe Iconis: piano; Charlie Rosen: bass; Emily Marshall: melodica; Will Roland: vocals, percussion; George Salazar: vocals, cajon; Gerard Canonico: vocals, guitar; Tiffany Mann: vocals, percussion; Lauren Marcus: vocals, ukulele, percussion; Britton Smith: vocals, percussion; Jason SweetTooth Williams: vocals

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