Lin-Manuel Miranda certainly got it right in his film adaptation of Rent creator, Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick … Boom! The film is wonderfully filmed and is heartbreakingly terrific. Andrew Garfield gives a radiant performance as Larson who longs to write the great American musical.
Garfield who sings for the first time is fabulous, better than the real Larsen in fact. Garfield’s performance could bring in an Oscar nod as well as Best Film, Best Supporting Actor and cinomatography. Garfield’s performance is complex, heartfelt, layered and you love him. Therefore you care about his story.
Tick, Tick … Boom! is an autobiographical musical. In the film we follow Jon (Garfield), a young theater composer, who is broke, can’t pay the rent, waiting tables at a diner and about to turn 30. It is the winter of the 90’s in the East Village. What Jon hopes will be the next great American musical, Superbia is getting a big a showcase in a few days and he has still not written the 11 o’clock number. His girlfriend Susan (Alexandra Shipp),) needs a commitment. His best friend Michael (Robin de Jesús), has moved out and upwards and his friends are dying of AIDS.
Jonathan Larson passed away at the age of 35 on the morning of Rent‘s first Off-Broadway performance. He suffered an aortic dissection believed to caused by undiagnosed Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. tick, tick… BOOM! is the show he created before and during the struggles with his first musical, Superbia. tick, tick… BOOM! originally a monologue was revised into a three-actor musical. For the first time I really appreciate this piece.
Vanessa Hudgens as the musical actress Karessa and Joshua Henry shine as his prime performers. Hudgens and Garfield are fabulous in “Therapy.” Shipp as well as Hudgens soar on “Come to Your Senses,” which I am sure will become the audition song of the year!
Robin de Jesús is seriously fabulous is as Larson’s gay roommate Michael, a former actor fed up with Bohemia. He is funny, moving and brings us to tears, remembering those times how we lost so many.
The whole cast is stellar and thrilling to see. Laura Benanti is part of the advertising agency Michael now works for. Richard Kind the head of a writers workshop, who cow tows to Stephen Sondheim (a witty Bradley Whitford) and Judith Light is Jon’s manager.
There are Easter eggs a plenty such in the “Sunday ” number with; Howard McGillin, Chuck Cooper, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joel Grey, André De Shields, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Phylicia Rashad, Beth Malone, Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Bebe Neuwirth, Chita Rivera and of course Bernadette Peters
Also look for: Jelani Alladin, Roger Bart, Jason Robert Brown, Chad Beguelin and his songwriting partner Matthew Sklar, Danny Burstein, Janet Dacal., Micaela Diamond , Danielle Ferland, Amanda Green, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Joe Iconis, Christopher Jackson, Tom Kitt, Judy Kuhn, Alex Lacamoire, Steven Levenson, Jaime Lozano, Helen Park, Dave Malloy, Lauren Marcus, Grace McLean, Kate Rockwell, Stephen Schwartz, Marc Shaiman, Georgia Stitt, Shaina Taub, Jeanine Tesori and Steven Trask.
Miranda, screenwriter Steven Levenson, cinematographer Alice Brooks and editor Myron Kerstein open up Larson’s world and let us back into history. In his directorial debut, Miranda gives us a celebration of life.
Now streaming on Netflix.