EXCLUSIVE: Composer Joe Iconis, whose Off Broadway viral sensation Be More Chill is headed to Broadway in February, is developing a new stage musical called Punk Rock Girl featuring songs written or made famous by such female musicians or female-fronted bands as Avril Lavigne, Pink, Pat Benatar and Blondie.
The project was announced today by Lively McCabe Entertainment as a collaboration with BMG and R&H Theatricals. Iconis is writing the book and musical arrangements, with his frequent collaborators Jennifer Werner (The Black Suits) directing and choreographing and Rob Rokicki (The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical) co-arranging and handling orchestrations.
Punk Rock Girl follows 16-year-old Angela Quivers, “a perfectionist who never takes chances and feels like there’s no place where she belongs until she meets Proxi, a teenager who pulls her into a world of grungy guitars, shocking secrets, and big, loud, messy emotions.” Angela finds a community in a musical described by the production as “a noisy celebration of all things raw and ragged; trashy and heartfelt; familiar and alien.”
“In punk music, you don’t have to be the most talented musician, the best singer, or the most beautiful rock star,” says Iconis. “The point of punk is that it’s music for everyone – it’s a party for people who aren’t polished, who aren’t perfect. It’s about finding your passion and not being ashamed of your inner weirdo. This lovingly trashy show explores serious issues in an occasionally fantastical, often explosive, always heartfelt way.”
Michael Barra, co-president and producer of Lively McCabe, will exec produce, with Elyse Cogan, BMG’s Manager of Theatre Development, serving as co-producer. R&H Theatricals, a Concord Music Company, will publish and license Punk Rock Girl.
R&H also reps Iconis’ musicals Things To Ruin and Be More Chill, the latter not only moving to Broadway but slated for a film adaptation by Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps and Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Productions – as first reported by Deadline in October.
Production plans for Punk Rock Girl will be announced shortly. A reading was held earlier this month in New York with a cast that included Yoyo Bonner, Gerard Canonico (Be More Chill, Groundhog Day), Alexandra Ferrara, AJ Holmes (The Book of Mormon), Lauren Marcus (Be More Chill), Destinee Rea (The Book of Mormon), Brian Sears (The Book of Mormon), Brooke Shapiro, Talia Suskauer (Be More Chill), and Jason SweetTooth Williams (Be More Chill).
Other female musicians and bands whose songs will be included in Punk Rock Girl include Bikini Kill, Echosmith, ATraLaLa, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and more. The title song is a 1988 single by punk band The Dead Milkmen.
Iconis, whose songs were featured in NBC’s Smash, wrote Be More Chill for New Jersey’s Two River Theater in 2015, and saw the project’s popularity skyrocket when Chill songs went viral on the internet. A sold-out Off Broadway production at the The Pershing Square Signature Center earlier this fall will begin previews at Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre on Feb. 13, 2019, with an official opening on March 10.
Lively McCabe Entertainment is led by Barra and co-founder Katie Dietz, and specializes in packaging and adapting iconic intellectual property into new stories for theater, film/TV, and book publishing. It’s represented by Max Grossman and Brad Rosenfeld at Abrams Artists Agency and Adam Cooper at Jackoway Austen Tyerman (TV/film), Jason Aylesworth at Sendroff & Baruch (theater) and Conrad Rippy at Levine Plotkin & Menin (corporate and publishing).