Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut, tick, tick… BOOM!, is a cinematic adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s semi-autobiographical musical Rent. Rent is a 1996 rock musical that is partly inspired on Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème, which was composed 100 years previously.
The musical depicts the narrative of a group of struggling artists attempting to survive in 1990s New York City in the midst of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Similarly, Puccini’s opera depicts the narrative of a group of artist friends, but it is set in 1830s Paris, and the sickness that weaves its way through the plot is consumption (tuberculosis).
Jonathan Larson wrote tick, tick… BOOM! as a solo piece in 1990. The semi-autobiographical musical follows a composer named ‘Jon,’ who lives in New York City in the 1990s. The links to Rent are already obvious.
Jon, who is approaching his 30th birthday, is afraid that he has chosen the wrong profession and is forced to wait tables in a downtown café while he develops what he believes would be the next America’s Greatest musical.
Days before a pivotal performance, he is under pressure from all sides: his fiancée, who wants to pursue an artistic ambition outside of New York, his buddy, who abandoned his goal for financial stability, and the Aids crisis, which is casting a shadow over the creative community.
What’s the release date?
The film will have a limited premiere on Friday, November 12th, before appearing on Netflix one week later on Friday, November 19th. The soundtrack, which is likely to contain the whole ensemble, will be released on the same day as the film.
The film adaptation stars a slew of new faces, including Andrew Garfield as Jonathan Larson, Vanessa Hudgens as Karessa Johnson, Alexandra Shipp as Susan, Robin de Jess as Michael, Joshua Henry as Roger, Judith Light as Rosa Stevens, Bradley Whitford as Stephen Sondheim, Joanna P Adler as Molly, Noah Robbins as Simon, and Ben Levi Ross as Freddy.
Fans of the High School Musical franchise will recognize Hudgens as Gabriella in the Disney Channel musical, but Garfield, best known for his role as Spiderman, is a newbie to the film-musical arena. In an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the actor said that he met Lin-Manuel Miranda after the director asked their common massage therapist if Garfield could sing. Miranda was told by the massage therapist that the Spiderman star had “the most amazing singing voice,” and a phone call was placed. Garfield won a Tony Award for his performance as the lead in the 2018 Broadway production of Angels in America, which is similarly set in New York City during the 1980s Aids crisis.