Alameda Youth to Present Influential Musicals

Bertrand Blank &nbsp&nbsp Young Island City performers prepare for the opening night of Be More Chill, a show so hot with teens, it was one of the most-streamed musical soundtracks ever on Spotify. Still a first-run show, it has been licensed for school groups to perform at the same time. As far as the local cast knows, Alameda’s performances will be the first in the Bay Area.

Alameda Youth to Present Influential Musicals

Be More Chill, a teen musical that became an Internet sensation, recently left Broadway for London — and Alameda.

“Tomorrow Youth Repertory” will bust way out of the youth theater mold this year, staging two edgy productions over the next few weeks: a high-school musical that exploded in popularity online and a stark examination of a devastating hate crime.

Be More Chill is expected to draw crowds of teens from all over the Bay Area, because this is one of the first youth productions of a show still playing on world stages. The show debuted to obscurity in New Jersey in 2015, but grew into a massive fandom after kids stumbled across the music online, streaming the cast album more than 250 million times and driving the production to Broadway and now, London. Due to an unusual licensing deal, youth groups are allowed to stage the show while it still plays on major world stages.

As soon as Be More Chill wraps, the group will present The Laramie Project, a documentary-style play analyzing the 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyo.

The two shows cover the theater gamut, from the silly to the tragic, but both hold social significance. In Chill, students swallow a tiny supercomputer that promises to help them become popular — but are forced to confront the dark side of popularity and question the wisdom of changing their identity to fit in. The Laramie Project, drawing on hundreds of interviews conducted locally after Shephard’s brutal death, takes a hard look at how not just individuals but society and culture can lead to violence.

The cast members, in grades six through 12, take the shows’ messages to heart. Hazel Purins, who plays Christine in Chill, reflected on that show’s exploration of identity and society.

“There can be a lot of pressure to change who you are in high school,” said Purins. “Part of what’s important about this play is that it really shows how you’re not going to be happy if you change everything about yourself. You might be quote-unquote successful, but you’re not gonna have a good time doing it.”

Both shows take place at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1323 Central Ave. Tickets can be purchased online at or, depending on availability, at the door. Adult tickets cost $13 (in advance, $10); students/seniors tickets cost $7 (in advance, $5).

Performances of Be More Chill take place tomorrow, Friday Jan. 24, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 25, at 2 and 7 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 1, at 2 and 7 p.m.

Purchase tickets for The Laramie Project at Shows are set for: Friday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m.

For more information, call 205-9039 or visit