We unravel the real story behind Tick, Tick… ​​Boom! on Netflix

The questions of the thirties of yesterday and today are at the heart of the cinematographic concerns of the moment: Julie (in 12 chapters), The Olympics and today Tick, Tick… ​​Boom! are so many magnificent films on this difficult passage to adulthood. If, in France, the culture of musical is much less significant than in the United States, the extraordinary destiny of Jonathan Larson, put into images and songs in Tick, Tick… ​​Boom !, will also strike a chord.

Jonathan Larson. You probably don’t know his name, but he’s the genius songwriter who signed one of the greatest musicals of all time: Rent (“rent” in English), transposition of Bohemian of Puccini, New York, in the 1990s, as AIDS wreaked havoc in the Big Apple. This ode to the passing of time and to penniless New York youth has been playing on Broadway for twelve years, from April 29, 1996 to September 7, 2008.

But as the announcement, in hollow, the title of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s film, and more frontally, its prologue, Jonathan Larson will never take the measure of his success, will not receive his multiple Tony Awards or his prize in person. Pulitzer of the theatrical work and will also not know that the recording of Rent will be the best-selling record in Broadway history. He died the morning of the premiere of an aortic aneurysm, at the age of 35.

Tick, Tick… ​​Boom! is a work squared: a musical about a musical comedy author who is working on his next musical, directed by a musical comedy author. If you are not a fan of the genre, the project can cause allergies. But this mounted piece is in reality an exercise in style executed with care and a magnificent setting in abyss which summons, pell-mell, the urgency of creation, the anguish of emptiness, financial galleys, love and love. friendship. We rewind.

A tribute-like biopic

New York, early 1980s. By day, Jonathan Larson is a waiter in a having dinner from SoHo, the Moondance, to pay the rent on the dingy no-bathroom apartment he shares with two roommate friends. At night he works hard on writing his musical futuristic, Suberbia, inspired by 1984, the dystopian novel by George Orwell.

At the same time, he composed 30/90, renowned Boho days, a sort of semi-autobiographical “rock monologue” on the difficulty of being 30 years old in the 1990s and he puts down on music paper his moods as a thirty-year-old creator. He will finally rename this work completed but never really produced. Tick, Tick… ​​Boom! in reference to the creative urgency that animated him as he approached his fateful thirties, haunted by the fear of having accomplished nothing, as if he knew intimately that he would not live to old.

It is the protean material of Tick ​​Tick… ​​Boom! which serves as a narrative thread for the version of Larson played by Andrew Garfield. Of Rent, there will be no question in the movie. To transcribe all the fantasy of the world of musical comedy, Lin-Manuel Miranda has chosen an actor who is always on the verge of doing a little too much. But the eccentricity of the old Spider-Man befits Jonathan Larson and, shod in his old Converse, Garfield has one of the best performances of his career (alongside You will not kill and Under the Silver Lake), going from laughter to tears and song to dance, with an ease that one could not have suspected.

The songs of Tick, Tick… ​​Boom! intermingle, sometimes played on stage by Garfield, his orchestra and Vanessa Hudgens, sometimes mirrored in her daily life. Written over thirty years ago, these songs are still as current as ever: a hymn to “boho” life, a fantasy of a spacious apartment at the top of a Manhattan tower, or a misunderstanding of modern romance.

In real life, Larson performed them on stage in the early 1990s, encouraged by his mentor Stephen Sondheim, the author of West Side Story. This UFO piece will not offer him the expected success but it will catch the eye of the producer Jeffrey Seller who, later, will lead Rent on Broadway.

But it was neither Sondheim nor Seller who would give him the advice he was unwittingly waiting for. It is Rosa Stevens, his agent, played by Judith Light in the film. After the halftone representation of Suberbia, she will advise her little protégé to start working on her other project, “because that’s it, to be an author” and above all, to write about what he knows. And this is how will be born Rent, his bohemian New York tarnished by the AIDS years, immense posthumous success.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, author of musicals In the heights and Hamilton, himself played Jonathan Larson in a cover of Tick, Tick… ​​Boom! at the New York City Center in 2014. He signed his first production for Netflix and knew he owed a lot to Larson. This musical biopic that comes and goes between stage, life, reality and fiction therefore also takes on the appearance of homage.

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We unravel the real story behind Tick, Tick… ​​Boom! on Netflix