Tick, Tick ... Boom! Review
With reminiscent eyes, Lin Manuel-Miranda directs the deeply personal, autobiographical musical Tick, Tick ... Boom! into the big screen and brings Broadway legend Jonathan Larson's most personal work to life in a sentimental ode to musical theater.
From the first strides into Lin's hazy shot, Andrew Garfield begins his energetic yet intimate performance of Larson by molding himself to Larson's iconic crazed gaze and awkward charisma.
The realized Larson begins the introduction of his musical Tick, Tick ... Boom! whose workshop performances will guide the entire story, interjecting song and dance into Larson's most personal memories regarding past relationships, friendships, and the failure of his last giant-of-a-musical "Superbia" presented in flashbacks.
Preoccupied by his rapid loss of youth, Larson begins the story disillusioned by his stagnant success. Judgmental of the conventional, Larson is at his lowest, waiting at a diner and faced with a maturing relationship with his girlfriend Susan, who wants to settle for a teaching job away from midtown and her dancing career, and distancing from Michael, Larson's best friend who prematurely quit his time as an actor to work at an advertising company.
Tick, Tick ... Boom! decides to subvert the story of the romanticized struggling artist by, instead of recounting the journey with pity, depicting Larson as he learns to walk the tightrope between marketability and creativity, maturity and passion, clinging and moving one, as well as the breaking out of the cycle of self-centeredness passion can become.
At the command of the score recounting this tale, Miranda's style bleeds throughout. A direct parallel to Larson's changing of the sound of musical theater with the infusion of rock, Miranda infused hip hop into the stage with his mega-hit "Hamilton". This affection towards the genre can be seen in the song "Play Game" performed by The Roots' Tariq Trotter, a song entirely comprised of rap sewed into a score full of Larson's iconic rock-inspired style.
Overall, with familiar faces to those keen to the medium, such as Andre DeShields, Phillipa Soo, and Renee Elise Goldsberrry, Tick, Tick ... Boom! is first and foremost a love-letter towards modern musical theatre as well as the revolutionaries like Larson built it.