As 2019 draws to a close, TheaterMania looks back on some of the most jaw-dropping stories of the year.
To have one of your shows close early is tough. But to have two close within the span of a week is heartbreaking. Such is the double whammy that befell composer Joe Iconis. On August 18, his off-Broadway musical Broadway Bounty Hunter closed a month earlier than anticipated at the Greenwich House Theater. That, however, came on the heels of the higher-profile closing on August 11 of Be More Chill, the teen sci-fi musical that was a sold-out sensation off-Broadway in 2018 but which failed to find a similarly enthusiastic audience when it transferred to Broadway's Lyceum Theatre this past February. (The musical garnered only one Tony nomination, for Iconis's score.)
Still, perhaps the fact that Be More Chill made it to Broadway at all is enough of a victory for a musical that didn't cause much of a stir in its 2015 world premiere at Two River Theater in New Jersey. After that lackluster debut, through Internet word of mouth, it found unexpected viral success via streaming platforms, leading to its hit 2018 off-Broadway run. In any case, the release of a Be More Chill Broadway cast album and the recent announcement that Broadway Bounty Hunter is recording an off-Broadway cast album mean that these shows will be preserved for future generations to discover.