By: Amanda Guarragi
Have you heard of Jonathan Larson?
If you haven’t, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s adaptation of his musical Tick, Tick… BOOM! will make you fall in love with his creative spirit. If you were born in the 90s, this movie will hit differently for you. As someone who is approaching 30, otherwise known as the deadline age, this made me incredibly emotional. Society has conditioned all of us to believe that there is only one right path in life, and that is to have a stable full-time job and raising a family by the age of 30. So when you start creeping into your late 20s, you somehow feel like you haven’t accomplished anything and that your life is pretty much over. You may see 30 as a make or break year, that when you reach it, and you don’t have all those boxes checked, that you’re somehow a failure. Well, Jonathan Larson managed to put all this stress and anxiety about turning 30 into a song, better yet, he wrote about how life changes and how time is all we have.
It’s hard to even put into words the feeling you get while watching Tick, Tick…Boom! I don’t think a movie musical has ever hit so close to home, it’s one of those films that you are comforted by given your current state of mind. A movie you didn’t know you needed in your life, yet it still made an impact. For this to be Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial feature debut, it was quite impressive. Even though the execution of a story within a story was a bit jumbled in the first half, once he finds his footing, it’s a beautiful, emotional, rollercoaster of inspiration and creativity. Not only does, Miranda capture one’s love for movie musicals, this is one stage production that was adapted to screen by Steven Levenson in an imaginative way that didn’t feel static like the rest. Miranda was able to play with Larson’s mind and show how brilliant he truly was.
For those of you who don’t know, Jonathan Larson was an American composer and playwright noted for exploring the social issues of multiculturalism, addiction, and homophobia in his work. He is most well-known for Rent, a musical that changed the face of Broadway forever. The only person that could have played Larson is Andrew Garfield. Even though we’ve seen Garfield give great performances, nothing compares to his portrayal of Jonathan Larson. He embodied him in every single way and has one of the most beautiful performances of the year. He matched his energy on all bases and performed his heart out when singing those songs. To see Larson’s life beyond the stage, while he was writing these songs that would eventually make it into his musical, Miranda showed the duality of the stage performer versus the writer quite well.
Tick, Tick…Boom! brought me so much comfort when I needed it most. It is a beautiful, inspiring story about how valuable our time truly is. Larson made an impact by simply being himself and pushing for change through his lyrics. Anyone in any creative space has a voice and it is very important to share how we feel because maybe, just maybe, we could be helping others who are feeling the same way. We need to amplify voices using whatever platform we have, so we can progress as a society. More importantly, we need to make time for the people we care about the most because we don’t know how long we have with them. If you’re a crier like me, then you will need a box of tissues because the tears were streaming down my face. This movie can be so personal to not only children of the theatre but for anyone in a creative field. It’s a heartfelt celebration of Jonathan Larson and the wonderful work he left behind.