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The Bittersweet Afterlife of ‘Be More Chill’

Category: Art & Culture,Theater

Mr. Vizzini was also thriving professionally. In 2012, he published a middle-grade novel, “The Other Normals,” and the following year, he released a nearly 500-page young adult fantasy novel, “House of Secrets,” that he wrote with the movie director Chris Columbus. He landed a string of TV writing jobs, and wrote for shows like “Teen Wolf,” “Last Resort” and “Believe.

“He had a tremendous amount of energy,” said the actor and writer Ken Baumann, a close friend. “He realized he needed to take all that anxiety and self-criticism and subsume it into work.”

But as his Hollywood writing career was taking off, things began to unravel. He would wake up at four in the morning to work on his fiction before commuting to his TV writing job, and fell into what Ms. Embury described as “a constant state of burnout.”

“Everything was clicking, he’s getting everything he wanted, then at some point, things shifted,” she said. “Everyone has highs and lows, and he went into a low and didn’t come out of it.”

In late December of 2013, when he was in Brooklyn visiting his family, Mr. Vizzini jumped from the roof of a building.

A few months after Mr. Vizzini’s death, Ms. Embury and Felix, who is now 7, moved back to Brooklyn to be close to his family. They live in a cozy, art-filled walk-up apartment in Park Slope, with Barnabas, a tubby black and white cat.

Felix, who was 2 when Mr. Vizzini died, has no memory of his father, but has started asking more questions about him. “He’s getting to that age where he’s more curious,” Ms. Embury said.


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