tick, tick… BOOM! – The Path to Musical Theatre Glory is Paved with Fantastic Almost Hits

To ring in 2024, we’re starting off the year with a BANG!, or rather, a BOOM!, on our main stage. The Sarasota Players production of tick, tick… BOOM! begins this week, and we can’t wait to unveil it. 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 a composer and the sacrifices that he made to achieve his big break in theatre. Containing 14 songs and 10 characters tick, tick… BOOM! takes you on the playwright/composer’s journey that led to a Broadway blockbuster.


Though Rent was a massive hit both off and on Broadway when it premiered over 25 years ago and went on to even greater recognition and acclaim when it made its way to the big screen in 2005, the road to its success was certainly not short or Larson’s first attempt. In fact, the massively talented composer and lyricist struggled to make a name for himself in the musical theatre world. Only in recent years has more of his work garnered attention, specifically the work he created prior to his biggest hit. Even then, you may have missed tick, tick…BOOM! when it debuted on Netflix, and had a very limited theatrical release, in 2021.


The film is a phenomenal adaptation of the musical directed by Hamilton’s powerhouse creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, with an Oscar-nominated performance from Andrew Garfield, though quite different from the original. Miranda kept some aspects from the stage musical and expanded on other ideas from Larson’s life experiences and those of his friends, to some completely new concepts and characters, as well as adding songs from other Larson projects, including his coveted piece Superbia (an unproduced musical based on George Orwell’s 1984). So, if you feel like you’ve seen it already after watching the movie, seeing it live, in its original format, is entirely different and worthy of experiencing again in the theatre.


As The Sarasota Players tackles telling the story of an artist’s journey to renown, our director, Sunny Smith, took inspiration from their experience with Jonathan Larson’s music and its effect on their own artistic pursuits in life. Drawing from these, The Players production reproduces, as Smith explains in their director’s note, “…the thoughtful creation conceived by Larson as a one-man, semi- autobiographical show depicting his fears and life struggles as a young New York artist blended with playwright David Auburn’s revamped ideas of casting a spotlight on the relationships and places that Larson held dear. The show is normally portrayed with three actors, two of whom depict multiple roles, and there is usually a live band,” but Smith evolved these aspects for our needs, “so you will experience five actors bringing Larson’s iconic music into full depth and beauty.”


The Sarasota Players’ performances of tick, tick… Boom! begin this Wednesday, January 10, and run through January 28. We hope you’ll join us and enjoy this beautiful production!


For more information, all showtimes, and to purchase tickets, please visit https://theplayers.org/events-calendar/tick-tick-boom/.