Rent-heads around the country will get to see the sister show of their beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning rock opera when Jonathan Larson's tick, tick...BOOM! goes on a national tour beginning January 2003.
The producing team of the 2001 Off-Broadway run of the three-actor rock 'n' roll-flavored musical are in discussions with Joey McIntyre (formerly of New Kids on the Block) to recreate his work in the show. Producer Beth Smith told Playbill On Line 21 weeks have been booked so far, including dates in Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale (Jan. 14-Feb. 2, 2003), Palm Beach (Nov. 5-10, 2002), Baltimore, East Lansing, MI, Nashville, Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles. Specific venues have not been announced.
"We are continuing to book the tour," Smith told Playbill On Line. The producers (as in New York) will be Victoria Leacock, Robyn Goodman, Dede Harris, Lorie Cowen Levy and Beth Smith.
It's likely that the design team of the Off-Broadway production would recreate their work for the tour. Scott Schwartz directs.
Larson's tick, tick...BOOM! is a musical snapshot of a young songwriter's life, with a book, score and lyrics by the late Larson, who penned Rent. Larson's libretto was adapted by playwright David Auburn (Proof), and focuses on a theatrical songwriter named Jonathan and his wish for success, both financial and artistic, in 1990, as he turned 30. Early in its development, when Larson was performing it as a solo piece, the show was called 30/90. Both Larson are Auburn are winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. McIntyre has publicly expressed interest in touring with the show. He was part of the replacement cast in fall 2001 at the Jane Street Theatre in New York City.
The show, whose audience skews under 40, would play in touring venues ranging 800-1,800 seats and might appear on the Off Broadway subscription series in some cities, Smith previously told Playbill On-Line.
tick, tick is considered a funky, urban sister show to Rent and has the advantage that Rent has criss-crossed the nation in recent years.
The musical ended its Off-Broadway run Jan. 6 at the Jane Street Theatre, following 24 previews and 215 performances. The work was originally created by Larson in 1990 as a solo piece, and expanded after his death into a three-actor show that was adapted by playwright Auburn. Designers were Anna Louizos (set), David Zinn (costumes), Kenneth Posner (lighting), John Weston (sound).
The musical has found success in foreign markets, including a landmark triple production in South Korea where three Korean pop stars have played the lead role (in the Korean language) in three different productions (to say nothing of a special English language staging that played there earlier this year featuring Off Broadway star Joey McIntyre and his OB colleagues, Natascia Diaz and Jerry Dixon).
In its final months Off Broadway, tick, tick starred McIntyre as "Jonathan," a struggling composer-lyricist who, as age 30 dawns, wants to change the course of musical theatre. Diaz was girlfriend Susan (and other characters) and Dixon played best pal Michael (and others). The roles were created by Raul Esparza, Amy Spanger and Dixon. Molly Ringwald stepped into the show later. A cast album is in stores.
tick, tick...BOOM! first emerged in solo presentations in 1990. It finally got its commercial world premiere June 13, 2001 at the Jane Street Theatre, five years after the unexpected death of 35-year-old Larson, who did indeed make his mark on musical theatre with Rent.
Previews began May 23, 2001, in Manhattan. The musical, whose sound will remind a listener of Rent, is a quirky take on Larson's life rather than strict autobiography. Stephen Oremus musical directed.
There were several versions of the show over the years, producer Robyn Goodman said, and the number of songs in each version varied. Musical numbers over the years included "Theatre Is Dead," "Louder Than Words," "Why" and "Sunday," among others. The current Playbill lists 13 songs: "30/90," "Green Green Dress," "Johnny Can't Decide," "Sunday," "No More," "Therapy," "Play Game," "Real Life," "Sugar," "See Her Smile," "Come to Your Senses," "Why" and "Louder Than Words."
Larson had the style of monologists Eric Bogosian and Spalding Gray in mind when he was creating the unique musical.