Tick, tick…BOOM! is a must-see musical for young artists – FamilyWise Asia

Cages or wings? / Which do you prefer? / Ask the birds.

It’s a different version of a question that every person in their 20s and 30s has asked themselves at one point: Do you pursue your passion or go for stability and security? This timeless question is also something that the characters of Jon, Susan, and Michael also asked themselves in tick, tick…BOOM!, the semi-autobiographical musical made by Jonathan Larson, who went on to create the Pulitzer and Tony-award winning musical Rent. 

But before Larson realized his life-long dream, he was a struggling artist trying to make ends meet, working as a part-time dishwasher at a restaurant in New York while pursuing music, his true passion, on the side. Jon’s best friend Michael was also a performer and an aspiring actor, but had to give it up to pursue a career as a marketing research executive, and is suggesting that Jon work with him to have a more stable job. His girlfriend Susan, a dancer who teaches ballet, also makes a similar suggestion to pursue a different career and leave New York to raise a family. 

The central theme of tick, tick…BOOM! is something that every young creative can relate to, and Larson’s eventual success after creating tick, tick…BOOM! and Rent, and his tragic passing at just 35 years old only makes the musical more poignant. The musical was adapted by Lin Manuel Miranda into an award-winning Netflix film that starred Andrew Garfield as Jon, Alexandra Shipp as Susan, and Robin de Jesus as Michael. But this version of tick, tick…BOOM!, which was a re-staging by 9Works Theatrical after first staging it in 2016, offers a similar but different experience from the film that people, especially young creatives, will definitely enjoy. 

The musical showcases not only the immense talents of its theater actors Reb Atadero, Tanya Manalang-Atadero, and Jef Flores, but also the assured direction of Robbie Guevara, who makes watching the musical worthwhile and different from merely watching it as a film on a screen (Another set of performers features actor Khalil Ramos, Kayla Rivera, and Vien King). Hearing songs like “Louder Than Words,” “Therapy,” and “Come To Your Senses” live will have audiences going through different emotions and makes the experience of watching in the theater worthwhile. 

Catching tick, tick…BOOM! may or may not provide everyone the answer to the question of whether or not one should pursue their passion or stability and security. But it will make the load more bearable knowing that there are many others going through it and asking themselves the same question, and that a great musical filled with memorable performances and poignant songs that perfectly capture these emotions can be made from it. 

“Tick, Tick… BOOM!” is still being staged at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium of RCBC Plaza in Makati on August 26 and 27 and on September 2 and 3. 

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