Just Opened: Tick, Tick... Boom!
A review of Jonathan Larson's musical at Triangle Productions.
Jonathan Larson is feeling anxious. He’s about to turn 30 and is still waiting tables in New York while struggling to get his long-slaved-over rock musical produced. Of course, he did ultimately succeed in getting a rock show on Broadway, but not before his untimely death at age 35. You’ve probably heard of it. That show was Rent. But before his work became widely known, Larson wrote Tick, Tick… Boom!, an autobiographical show based on his own years of struggle that's currently being staged at Triangle Productions.
Similar to Rent in style and tone, the show punctuates Larson’s daily life with guitar-heavy rock numbers as the three-person cast belts out catchy melodies both serious (“Johnny Can’t Decide”) and frivolous (“Sugar,” about Jon’s addiction to Twinkies). Taking the lead and narrating the majority of the show, Drew Harper is spot-on as Jon, whose neurotic anxiety proves mostly endearing and wholly relatable. New York City in the ‘90s could be easily swapped for Portland today, with a rising tide of young creatives contending for success. The beautifully voiced Danielle Purdy and James Sharinghousen admirably fill the two supporting roles and a handful of others. While it’s hard not to compare the show against Rent, this production still stands as a moving homage to a talented composer who eventually achieved the fame for which he struggled so long, even if he never got to witness it.
GO: Tick, Tick... Boom! is at the Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza, 1785 NE Sandy Blvd., 239-5919. 7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 pm Sundays through Sept. 27. $15-$35. Tickets here.