Among the most promising and active young composers in musical theater today, Joe Iconis got his biggest stage yet during the second season of the cult hit TV show Smash, when his song "Broadway Here I Come" felt inescapable. But long before Smash, and long since, Iconis has written musicals blending classic and contemporary sounds with unorthodox story lines, most notably his recent viral hit Be More Chill, which gained a huge audience a full two years after its premiere at Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey. Iconis recently stopped by the Billboard on Broadway podcast to chat about his multifaceted career.
"I grew up as an ultimate theater geek," Iconis admits. "I loved classic show tunes: Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Kander & Ebb, Bill Finn. I got to college, and when I started writing and discovering my voice, I stopped listening to cast albums and listened to only other stuff. I was like, 'Oh, there's other types of music! This is what other people have been listening to!' Dolly Parton, Aimee Mann, Rolling Stones, Harry Nilsson." He calls his own sound a "marriage of old and new," honoring classic theater while bringing in edgier contemporary influences.