Be More Chill: The word-of-mouth hit musical now heading to London

Be More Chill, which has been praised for attracting a new teen audience to the theatre, will open at The Other Palace in February, the BBC can reveal.

The pop-rock, sci-fi musical tells the story of an anxious teenager who takes a pill in order to become more popular.

The soundtrack has played a large part in making the show a sleeper hit – racking up 300 million streams.

“Ever since its sellout off-Broadway run, the show has become a hit with the best kind of social-media word of mouth powering its progress to Broadway,” wrote Tim Teeman in The Daily Beast.

“It has brought, so observers have noted, a younger audience to the theatre. It has caused great excitement and created extreme fandom.”

Be More Chill originally premiered in 2015 at the Two River Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey. It had a limited run there and little was made of the cast soundtrack which was quietly released on streaming services.

In 2017, the number of online listeners to the recording started growing, and the show began to attract a cult following, particularly among young people – most of whom hadn’t seen the show, but still created Tumblr pages, YouTube videos, blogs and art fiction in tribute to it.

As a result, the show was revived by its creators the following year, first as an off-Broadway production before it transferred to the Lyceum Theatre for a run on Broadway.

“I’m a little older and so I’m used to word-of-mouth being telling my friends about an amazing show or movie,” Be More Chill’s producer Jerry Goehring tells BBC News. “And in the old days we had radio that would play a song and it would be popular. Word of mouth would happen in different ways.

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