Review: Tick, Tick… Boom!
A result of its technical splendor, Mahnoor Imam finds Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut a fitting tribute to Jonathan Larson and Broadway.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tick, Tick… Boom! is an ode to Jonathan Larson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer who produced a number of Broadway hits including Rent. An adaptation of Larson’s titular autobiographical musical, this is Miranda’s directorial debut and features Andrew Garfield starring as the composer in the midst of a creative crisis over another of his musicals, Superbia, not being showcased on Broadway.
The plotline centres around Jon’s personal life as he struggles with his relationships, career and creative spirit while trying to get Superbia off the ground. Throughout the musical actively glances back to Larson performing the sci-fi satire rock musical, which failed to be performed on-stage, to a small audience. These glimpses into Larson’s life and work are playful and exhilarating to witness, with a special mention to ‘Boho Days’ performed late-night by Jon in his rusty downtown New York amongst a pile of drunk companions. The song is a true ode to a 90s New Yorker group of theatre enthusiasts: “More like a family than your family, hey!”
Garfield specifically learnt classical Broadway singing techniques for this project with no prior experience.
Another key thing this musical achieves is something other modern adaptations have not been able to overcome: Garfield specifically learnt classical Broadway singing techniques for this project with no prior experience. Adding to this, the entire cast is star-studded, particularly with Tony-winner and In the Heights star Robin de Jesùs playing Michael, Jon’s close best friend. All in all, the film is packed with bright visuals and perfectly-tuned editing to create a highly spirited project that honours the artistic creative struggle in the Broadway community.