tick, tick ... BOOM! follows Jon (Andrew Garfield), a version of composer Jonathan Larson, who is telling the story of his life in
New York City, his friends, his love life, and his struggle to become a musical theater writer — all as his impending 30th birthday hangs over his head.
There's something equally tragic and bittersweet about Larson's story. "This is a guy who was so worried about reaching his 30th birthday and must have known on some sub-atomic level that he was never going to reach his 40th birthday," says director Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Larson revolutionized musical theater using contemporary influences to create a Pulitzer-Prize winning hit, Rent. Although Larson, who died in 1996 at age 35 of an aortic dissection, tragically never got to see his success.
“This is a guy who sensed a ticking clock in a way the rest of us don't ordinarily sense it was really important. [It] gets everyone on the same page in terms of why his story [and] why he's singing these words has another layer of urgency to it.”
- lin-manuel miranda
Garfield also had to learn to sing for the role: "I was in the position of being partly responsible for making sure that the ripples of his life and his work continued to flow into the world. I went from not knowing him at all to him becoming quite a large chamber of my heart now."
“I think in some way, he knew that he had a lot to say and that he needed to get as much of it out as possible while he was alive. He is just uncontrollably, expressive, heart-bursting... wanting everyone to get up and dance.”
- andrew garfield