Jonathan Larson is best remembered for his stunning rock musical Rent and his sudden, tragic death right before the show debuted Off-Broadway. But before creating one of the most beloved musicals of the last several decades—itself a modern, loose adaptation of the famed opera La Bohème—he was a struggling artist in New York City trying to make a name for himself on Broadway. And like so many before him, and certainly after him, he wrote about it. And turned it into a musical called tick, tick…BOOM! Now, thirty years later, the man behind one of the latest musical theater juggernauts, will bring Larson’s story to the big screen. And the latest trailer teases the magic and stress of trying to make a lofty dream a reality.
From the Netflix synopsis:
The film follows Jon, a young theater composer who’s waiting tables at a New York City diner in 1990 while writing what he hopes will be the next great American musical. Days before he’s due to showcase his work in a make-or-break performance, Jon is feeling the pressure from everywhere: from his girlfriend Susan, who dreams of an artistic life beyond New York City; from his friend Michael, who has moved on from his dream to a life of financial security; amidst an artistic community being ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. With the clock ticking, Jon is at a crossroads and faces the question everyone must reckon with: What are we meant to do with the time we have?
Larson developed tick, tick…BOOM! as a one-person show, which he began performing in the early ’90s. But after his death, the playwright David Auburn revised it as a three-actor show, one playing Jon, the other two a bevy of supporting characters. This adaptation of the show, written by Dear Evan Hanson scribe Steven Levenson, further adds to Larson’s conceit, making it an even more overt biographical story and opening the show up to an even larger cast ensemble.
The cast includes several theater veterans—and a few icons. Joining Garfield are Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Joshua Henry, Mj Rodriguez, Bradley Whitford, Tariq Trotter a.k.a. Black Thought of The Roots, Judith Light, and Vanessa Hudgens. Whitford, notably, is playing Stephen Sondheim, an idol of Larson’s who he pays homage to in tick, tick…BOOM!
tick, tick…BOOM! launches in theaters on November 12 and Netflix on November 19.