Tick, Tick … Boom! OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • NY TIMES

  • DAILY NEWS

  • TM

  • AMNY

  • NJ NEWSROOM

Opening Night:
June 25, 2014
Closing:
June 28, 2014

Theater: New York City Center / 130 West 55th Street, New York, NY, 10019

Synopsis: 

Before Rent, there was tick, tick… BOOM!. This autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, the Pulitzer Prize– and Tony Award–winning composer of Rent, is the story of an aspiring composer who questions his life choices on the eve of his thirtieth birthday. First performed as a solo rock monologue by Larson in 1990, it was later revamped by playwright David Auburn as a three-actor piece and premiered off-Broadway on June 13, 2001 at the Jane Street Theatre. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Karen Olivo star in the Encores! Off-Center production of this exhilarating work by the late, great Larson.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Tick, Tick … Boom!

    A Creator and His Doubts
    ‘Tick, Tick ... Boom!’ Recalls Jonathan Larson

    Charles Isherwood

    June 26, 2014: “Compromise or persevere?” The question has a fearsome urgency for the protagonist of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick ... Boom!, an aspiring musical-theater composer staring down his 30th birthday and wondering whether it’s time to put aside his lifelong ambition to be an artist and settle for a second-choice life. In the lovably scrappy, terrifically moving revival of the show being presented by City Center Encores! as part of its Off-Center series, the struggling composer, Jon, is portrayed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose funny, anguished and heartbreaking performance throbs with a sense of bone-deep identification. Not too many years ago, Mr. Miranda was himself a struggling young musical-theater composer living hand-to-mouth in the New York, teaching high school English while scribbling songs on the side. He, of course, would find success when his musical In the Heights transferred to Broadway and won the Tony Award for best musical — before he turned the appalling age causing such agony for Jon. Larson’s tragic history, by contrast, has become sorrowful lore in theater circles. He died at age 35, just before his musical Rent opened Off Broadway, and went on to become an era-defining Broadway hit.

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  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF Tick, Tick … Boom!

    ‘Tick, Tick ... Boom!”: Theater review

    joe Dziemianowicz

    June 26, 2014: A familiar story beats at the heart of the easy-to-like production of Tick, Tick ... Boom! This show from the Encores! Off-Center musical theater series focuses on a New York artist. Jon (Lin-Manuel Miranda) waits tables while trying to create a new kind of musical. As BFF Michael (Leslie Odom Jr.) enjoys a cushy Madison Avenue job, girlfriend Susan (Karen Olivo) grows tired of city life and the big 3-0 relentlessly approaches, Jon considers throwing in the towel on his show. The fight-or-flight plot boasts added resonance since it is the story of Jonathan Larson. In 1996, he died at 35 just as his game-changing musical, Rent, premiered. Larson performed Tick, Tick ... Boom! as a solo rock monologue in 1990. Writer David Auburn (Proof) turned it into a three-actor show that debuted Off-Broadway in 2001.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Tick, Tick … Boom!

    tick, tick... BOOM! Review

    Hayley Levitt

    June 26, 2014: The New York City Center stage has the distinct appearance of a production load-in greeted by a case of TNT — a fitting aesthetic for Rent composer Jonathan Larson's lesser-known bio-musical, tick, tick… BOOM!, now playing as part of the Encores! Off-Center series. Crates, wires, and lights are all strewn about the stage like an art project just on the brink of pulling together its stray pieces (the work of scenic designer Donyale Werle). This rough-edged shrapnel is just as abundant in tick, tick... BOOM!'s performances as it is in its physical space. Yet, these unmanicured, potentially hazardous shards are exactly what give the production its explosive power. tick, tick... BOOM!, which began its life as a solo rock monologue, presents a musicalized Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The artist in this case is Jonathan Larson, whose revolutionary rock adaptation of La Bohème rose to its current messianic status after Larson's tragically premature death in 1996. Providentially, this modest precursor, which features an equally memorable score, tackles the very question that came to define Larson's abbreviated career: What is the best way to spend our days when there is no way of knowing how many we have ahead of us?

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  • AM NEW YORK REVIEW OF Tick, Tick … Boom!

    Jonathan Larson, late 'Rent' writer, receives tribute in 'tick ... tick ... BOOM!'

    Matt Windman

    June 26, 2014: Can you imagine what else Jonathan Larson would have written had he not tragically died in 1996 on the eve of the first public performance of Rent? At the time, Larson was only 35. When Stephen Sondheim was 35, he had yet to even reach his peak. In response to the mega-success of Rent and the desire to examine everything else that Larson wrote, tick…tick…BOOM!, a three-person, 90-minute rock musical based on an autobiographical piece that Larson himself once performed, was produced Off-Broadway in 2001 at the now defunct Jane Street Theatre, where Hedwig and the Angry Inch also premiered.

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  • NEW JERSEY NEWSROOM REVIEW OF Tick, Tick … Boom!

    'tick...tick...BOOM!' Off Broadway Review: Jonathan Larson's Musical Portrait

    Michael Sommers

    June 26, 2014: Devotees of Jonathan Larson’s Rent can taste a bittersweet slice of its maker’s too-short life in the intimate musical tick…tick…BOOM!, which is currently revived through Saturday by Encores! at New York City Center. Originally a solo piece that Larson wrote and performed in several variations during the early 1990s, it was sensitively revamped by writer David Auburn and musical arranger/orchestrator Stephen Oremus into a three-actor work that appeared Off Broadway during the 2001-2002 season. Set in 1990, the musical centers on Jon (Lin-Manuel Miranda), a “promising” writer-composer who suffers pre-30th birthday angst over his stalled career. Michael (Leslie Odom, Jr.), his best bud since boyhood, enjoys an enviable career in marketing. Susan (Karen Olivo), Jon’s girlfriend, wants to quit Manhattan for an easier existence in New England.

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