Tick, Tick… Boom!: Netflix release
19th November 2021
Before Jonathon Larson wrote the award-winning rock musical Rent, he wrote an semi-autobiographical musical as a solo-piece; Tick, Tick… Boom. Over 30 years later, Lin-Manuel Miranda has directed this important story in a new Netflix film. The show tells of a young, almost 30 year old composer trying to make it to the Broadway stage with his first musical Supurbia. Whilst struggling with completing the musical, working as a waiter and with his relationships Larson remains ever committed to his passion to tell a story and have his dreams realised. Any Rent fans will love the chance to glimpse into Larson’s early days and the inspirations for the iconic musical. The film is bittersweet as Larson tragically died the day before Rent’s opening night meaning he never saw the production, never heard the audience’s reaction or got to see his dreams of reaching Broadway fulfilled. However, this autobiographical film truly shows what a dedicated talent he was, his utter commitment and offers an insight into where his ideas for Rent originated.
With its rocky, contemporary score audiences will recognise Larson’s modern style. Each song telling the story and showing a range of emotion. Fans of his subsequent musical, Rent, will surely see similarities between some songs in the score. Larson doesn’t hold back and experiments with comedy as shown in the song ‘Therapy‘ and as he is affected by the ever present AIDs pandemic he injects real emotion in the songs ‘Real Life‘ and ‘Louder than Words’. Drawing inspiration from one of his favourite composers Stephen Sondheim, audiences may notice references to his songs including ‘Maria‘ from West Side Story and the use of third person, like George in Sunday in the Park with George, in the song ‘Sunday‘.
A huge fan of Larson himself, Lin-Manuel Miranda clearly wants to pay tribute to the composer who he draws inspiration from and the direction is brilliant. The way the songs link between the scenes enabling the narrative to jump back and forth in time is excellent. The film captures Larson’s need for theatre and storytelling, even at the risk of his own relationships. Every attention to detail has been made and the video clips of Larson at the end are particularly poignant. Of course, no Lin-Manuel Miranda show would be complete without a cameo but his is not the only one to watch out for. During ‘Sunday‘ there are notable musical theatre royalty including Bernadette Peters, Chita Riveria, Adam Pascal, Beth Malone and Andre de Shields. The highlight of the cast however has to be Andrew Garfield who plays Larson. He is passionate, dedicated to his art and truly believable as the young composer struggling to get a foot in the door. Garfield shows Larson’s vulnerability perfectly and draws the audience in.
Regardless if you know of Larson or not, audiences will be hard pressed not to enjoy this film. It is definitely a must for any musical fans, or fans of the Arts in general, but it is also a superb autobiographical story of one of Broadways lost talents. Emotional and inspiring, this is one of the best musicals to have come out this year. A must see.