tick, tick ... BOOM!
Running time: 1:40 - no intermission
a rousing rock musical
Storyline: As his thirtieth birthday approaches, a struggling composer living in a dilapidated apartment in the SoHo district of Manhattan, waiting on tables at a Greenwich Village diner while writing songs for musicals he hopes will merge musical theater and rock music, despairs of having that big breakthrough. His girlfriend may take a job out of town, and his best friend may be succeeding in the world of high finance but faces a crisis of his own. What is that sound he keeps hearing? It seems to go "Tick, Tick ... Boom!" as time gets away from him and his world is about to explode.
This is a substantive musical with a message about using the life you have to the fullest. It is a message made all the more poignant given the history of its development and the story of its composer. A semi-autobiographical musical, it was written by Jonathan Larson as he approached (and then passed) his own thirtieth birthday struggling to write musicals that would use rock music in theatrical ways. He put it aside to concentrate on another project, the one that became Rent. It is now Broadway legend that a burst aorta caused his death just as he was on the verge of phenomenal success. His death actually came on the night of the final dress rehearsal of the off-Broadway production of Rent that was such a hit that it transferred to Broadway virtually unchanged and has run there since 1996. Not only did it win the Tony Award for Best Musical, it earned Larson a posthumous Pulitzer Prize. It is now the seventh longest running musical in Broadway history and it is still adding to its of (thus far) 4,785 performances. After Larson's death, David Auburn, the playwright who would later win the Pulitzer for his own play Proof, converted the solo-show that Larson had put aside into the fully formed musical we see today with its message of working toward your goals and being true to your mission in life.
MetroStage has mounted
many satisfying small musicals, from the hilarious Musical of
Musicals: The Musical to the rousing The Last Five Years,
and revues from the outstanding Closer Than Ever to
one-performer semi-cabarets like Ellington: The Life & Work of
the Duke. With this one, it adds to the list and even tops much of
what went before. Matthew Gardiner, the resident Assistant Director at
Signature Theatre moves over for this show from
Curry, who just finished the limited run of Petite Rouge off-Broadway, has grown into a fine musical leading lady after some impressive work at Toby's Dinner Theater (especially her Helen Hayes nominated performance as Aida) Imagination Stage (The Araboolies of Liberty Street) and here at MetroStage (Three Sistahs). She has three roles to play in this show, the girlfriend, a member of the cast of the composer's musical who makes a play for him, and his agent. She distinguishes between them without overdoing it, and she handles both rock and ballad duties with flair. Her "Come To Your Senses" would be a highlight in any show. Matt Pearson plays the best friend/former roommate and has his own moments to shine. But perhaps the most impressive time for all three comes quietly in the lovely "See Her Smile" when Smith is in the lead but the vocal support from both Pearson and Curry is sublime.