Before Jonathan Larson was the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning composer of “Rent,” he was the struggling New York City playwright at the center of the musical autobiography “Tick, Tick... Boom.’’ Bay Street Theatre is presenting the musical Sept. 16 - 18.
“Tick Tick Boom” is the story of an aspiring composer, Jon, in New York City who is worried he made the wrong career choice, while navigating the pressures of love and friendship. Trey Norris leads the cast playing Jon.
“This is probably the biggest role I’ve had to date. I never leave the stage during the hour and a half show so this is a lot of pressure in this really great show. The music is very special and genuine in this show,” said Norris.
“Tick Tick Boom” may be familiar to some since it was released as a film on Netflix in 2021 but if you have not seen the movie Bay Street Theatre wants you to hold off and come enjoy the show without the comparisons. The show is being directed by Jeffrey DeVincent and Teresa Michelle W. Jackson is the assistant director. Both have years of experience in directing and theater production.
“I love working with Jeff, it’s an honor. He knows his vision and what he wants to bring to each production. He also lets me bring my creative touch to the show as the assistant director and we have enjoyed developing and watching this cast grow,” said Jackson.
Containing fourteen songs, ten characters, three actors and a band, “Tick, Tick… Boom!” takes you on the playwright/composer’s journey that led to a Broadway blockbuster.
Norris is the only actor who plays one role while castmates Taylor Mercier and Jarrett Parker play multiple roles throughout the show.
“Jarrett and I get to have more fun and play so many different people.I play the girlfriend, the mom, the middle age agent who is a heavy smoker and we get to do these subtle changes that transforms us to each character and it’s exciting to create this world,” said Mercier.
In the show Jon’s girlfriend wants to get married and move out of the city, his best friend is making big bucks on Madison Avenue and, yet, Jon is still waiting on tables and trying to write the great American musical.
“The show is about Larson’s anxiety as he grows older. This show takes place before ‘Rent’ and he has this big struggle going on as he turns 30 and the dynamic of his friendships and relationships as he is trying to create this work and be successful,” said Norris.
The show is set in 1990, this story of personal discovery is presented as a rock musical filled with attractive melodies and a unique blend of musical theater styles. Larson had been trying to establish himself in theater since the early 1980’s.
“Tick, Tick…Boom!” was first performed as a workshop in Sept. 1990 by Larson at the Off-Broadway playhouse Second Stage Theater under the title “Boho Days.”
Larson revised the developing piece following the Second Stage workshop, changing the title to “Tick, Tick... Boom!” Larson performed the show as a “rock monologue”, a new form of theater for the time.
“He truly changed musicals for our generation. Think about how big ‘Rent’ was and how long it lasted, it shaped a new musical display for Broadway,” said Mercier.
Larson died at his home in the early morning of January 25, 1996, from an aortic dissection, ten days before his 36th birthday, the day of the first Off-Broadway preview performance of “Rent.” Rent played on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre from its debut in April 1996 until September 7, 2008. It is currently the 11th longest running show in Broadway history.
“It’s like Larson knew that maybe he wouldn’t live long. Maybe that’s why he had anxiety about turning 30 and not having certain goals reached because he didn’t live long but the works he created changed Broadway musicals and shaped a generation. That is the legacy left behind that he never got to experience,” said Jackson.
The show runs Sept. 16 - 18 at Bay Street Theatre (upstairs at Club One.) Attendees must be 21 and older but the Sunday, Sept. 18 performance will allow those 18+. Purchase tickets at clubone-online.com