By Amanda Heisey
Opening the new year at The Sarasota Players is the lesser known brain child of Jonathan Larson – of Rent fame – tick, tick…Boom! The show is autobiographical and tells the story of Jonathan’s own journey to create a musical. A few actors portray all of the characters, and with a rock musical vibe, it’s sure to enchant musical know-it-alls and novices alike. Learn more about the show from director, Sunny Smith, then go get your tickets!
Amanda:Please give me an elevator pitch of the show.
Sunny: Jon is a struggling composer in New York in 1990, ready to workshop his latest show and make it big. However, it’s just days from his 30th birthday and the pressures of success and maintaining the relationships in his life are starting to overwhelm him with fear and doubt. He is faced with the reality that his work may go nowhere, and he will end up a starving artist; or he can decide to settle down, get a “real” job, and have a “normal” life. How much time does Jon have to do something great?
A: In your mind, why is it important? Why are we telling this story right now?
S: This story is that of many young people right now…what do I do with my life? I have many former students who are struggling with leading an artistic life and finding stability. This was my struggle as well. Our society claims to embrace the arts and expects perfection when it comes to artistic endeavors, but it does not want to compensate us artists for the time, work, and soul we put into making it happen. This was Jonathan Larson’s plight too.
A: How is the stage version different from the film people may have seen?
S: The film is very different from the musical. The film added some songs, some of which were from the original one-man version of the show and some from other Larson works, and it removed or altered some songs from the musical. Visually, the musical normally has more of a concert feel throughout, where the movie keeps part of that concert style while adding many locations and characters not seen in the musical. It will feel very different to those who only know the film.
A: What has been your favorite part of working on this production?
S: I have adored working with this ensemble of individuals. There willingness to embrace Larson’s journey and genius has been beautiful to guide and watch.
A: What has been the most challenging part?
S: The challenge has been working this piece in a theatre-in-the-round format. Normal, Tick is done on a proscenium stage in a more concert style setting with levels. We did not have those capabilities, so I did a lot thinking about this show in a different way so we could get the same feel in this challenging space.
A: Why is live theatre so important?
S: Live theatre is our history and our legacy. Humans learn about their world and those in it by experiencing the stories around them. Theater teaches, entertains, and it invites us to be compassionate thinkers.
A: Tell the community why they should come see the show.
S: Sarasota needs to see this show in part due to the songs that will get you moving in your seat, but mostly, to experience the raw talent of Jonathan Larson. Larson died at 36 due to an undiagnosed condition and with him went all of the musical magnificence that could have been. Most people will know the songs from Rent, but fewer know Tick, Tick…Boom! They should get to know it.
A: Tell the community why they should get involved with The Players.
S: The Players has been around for 90+ years and is built on volunteers from the Sarasota area. The longevity would not have been possible without individuals who give there time to make the magic happen. Once you get to know the dedicated folks that support The Players, you are forever part of this community which enriches minds through live performance.
A: Give me three words that describe this show.
S: Rockin’, delightful, energetic.
A: Anything else you’d like to add?
S: Come on out and see this show