4 Reasons Why Tick, Tick...Boom! should be on Broadway Like Now

From my second-row, center-orchestra seat, I had the privilege of being a witness to some stellar theatre last Saturday Night. That is not particularly surprising because the Encores! series at New York City Center consistently delivers and Tick, Tick...Boom! - written by the late Jonathan Larson - is a great show that has always lived in the shadow of Rent's supremacy. And this Encores! concert/production was so on-point that I immediately declared after leaving NYCC that it would make Broadway better by simply existing there. Presenting Exhibit's A thru D...

Overdue Broadway Debut - It is a hit on the regional circuit and had some major productions over in the UK. But Tick, Tick…Boom! was never on Broadway; its major New York debut was off-Broadway over a decade ago, with NRNW Fave Raul Esparza playing Jon (translation: a Broadway mounting is 99.9% likely to be considered a revival). And you know what? It's time. Larson's tale of "fuck my life; I'm turning 30" angst and confusion is as timeless as they come, with the pulse of New York and all its highs and lows a pivotal, unsung character of the story. Tick, Tick...Boom! isn't just about New York; it IS New York. And New Yorkers do love themselves a show about what they know. Violet was revived around this time last year at Encores! and we all know how that turned out. Tick, Tick...Boom! should follow suit and achieve similar results.

But the Music, You Guys! - I love Rent's score because obviously. But the score to Tick, Tick...Boom! is like Rent's more subtle cousin. Less ballads, less belting ("Come to Your Senses" aside, that is) and the music doesn't take itself too seriously, effectively offsetting the harrowing themes and the severity of the book and dialogue. "30/90" is a perfect introduction and opener into Jon's world. "Sunday" is a witty joy, standing on its own, but also a well-executed homage to Stephen Sondheim (who is frequently (not)mentioned in the show) and Sunday in the Park With George's famous Act I closer. Jon's solo number at the end of the show, "Why", will make you feel every feel that you have every feeled before. I mean, the same could be said for the show in its entirety, but particularly for that song.

Won’t You Stay a While, Karen Olivo - We can joke about her not-retirement all we want - her not-tirement, as it were. But Karen Olivo has pipes for miles and it is the theatre scene’s loss if she departs New York again. And with Susan and her other alternative roles, Olivo couldn’t be more of a shining star. I have a weird relationship with “Come to Your Senses” because it is my all-time favorite Jonathan Larson song, and yet, it is debatably one of the more disposable songs in the show as it doesn’t serve the story directly (I mean, what can you do with a song within a musical within a musical?). But now that I’ve heard Karen blast the song through the roof and reach the stars, the moon and maybe even Pluto, “Come to Your Senses” is everything it was meant to be: exciting and emotionally powerful. When Jon is welling up with glee and tears as his workshop got a much-needed diva-boost, so are we.

Lin-Manuel Miranda. End of Story. - I’m shocking exactly zero persons when I say that Lin-Manuel Miranda is one of the coolest cats around these parts. Since In the Heights, he’s been bopping around with behind-the-scenes projects, on-stage in limited-running shows and the occasional Tony Awards ceremony, but its time he returns to Broadway. Because his performance as Jon breathes life into everyone. Literally. Everyone. If you have ever felt uneasy about turning a particular age or found yourself at a fork-in-the-road between your career and your personal life (or if you happen to work within the industry in some proximity), Miranda’s twinkle-in-the-eyes, artistic-type with a dream is perfectly calibrated and relatable. Almost never leaving the stage, Miranda brings his A-game along with his naturally charismatic and personal touches, making the already likable Jon, EXTREMELY likable. I’m excited for Miranda’s Hamilton at the Public next winter - hell, I’d pay top dollar to watch Miranda eat a salad for 15 minutes - but Tick, Tick…Boom! is another delightful showcase for him. So get him back in a Broadway house, producers everywhere! Your country needs you.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

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