There are things a movie musical, when done right, can give you that a stage musical will never be able to deliver.  Completely transformative transitions, inner monologues brought to life, and fanciful locations… Netflix’s Tick, Tick…Boom! delivers in all of those areas.  

What is Tick, Tick…Boom! ?

Tick, Tick…Boom! is the autobiographical musical by Johnathan Larson, who went on to write the Tony Award-winning musical Rent.  This musical is the story of an aspiring composer in New York City and his first musical SUPERBIA. Along with the twists and turns, his life took leading up to the mounting of this ultimately failed musical.

I have always loved the music from this show, but I never really understood what the show was about until watching this film.  Andrew Garfield does a wonderful job bringing the late Johnathan Larson to life in this film adaptation. You can just breathe in his passion as it comes flying off the screen.   

My favorite numbers and outstanding Ensemble

Tick, Tick…Boom! is full of fantastic musical numbers. “Therapy”, the number performed hilariously with Vanessa Hudgens (HSM), is a standout moment for me. The hilarity of a fight put to song along with the ridiculous arguments the characters make in juxtaposition with the upbeat tempo makes for a standout moment.

This whole cast is just littered with talent. Starring along with Garfield there’s Alexandra Shipp (Shaft), Jordan Fisher (The Flash), Judith Light (Ugly Betty), and MJ Rodriquez (Pose). As well as award-winner Richard Kind (Big Mouth), broadway icon Joel Grey, and Utkarsh Ambudkar (Ghosts). This list isn’t even taking into account the ridiculous collection of broadway talent in “Sunday”. A number that made my little, gay, theater-loving heart just burst with joy.

I will say that even though Tick, Tick…Boom! has a star-studded cast, outside of Garfield no one stuck out for me in either a good or a bad way. Which, I guess, makes sense as this really isn’t much of an ensemble piece.

Tick, Tick… Boom! originally was performed as a one-man piece that was performed on a stage with a small band, 3 chairs, and 3 microphones. After his passing, playwright David Auburn revamped the show into a 3 person off-broadway show. And now, somehow the film manages to pay homage to the original while enriching it with the rest of New York and the theater scene in a way that doesn’t feel forced. 

Netflix dropped Tick, Tick… Boom! on November 19th. I recommend you run, don’t walk to fall in love with this musical.  Do that little theater-loving heart of yours a favor, I promise…you won’t regret it.

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