The rock musical "Tick, Tick... BOOM!" will return to the Trustus Theatre stage in February 2022 after a delay from it's original January debut date.
The opening date was delayed out of an abundance of caution and was necessary, the Executive Director of the Trustus Theatre, Jessica Fichter, said.
"Given the situation that we are in with COVID, and all we can do is just continue to take this one show at a time," Fichter said. "I really consider it a win because we are going to be able to put up theater, and that's our ultimate goal."
The production's original play was written by the famous composer, Jonathan Larson. The play is a semi-autobiography about his efforts to get a musical he wrote, called "Superbia," on Broadway, according to director Dewey Scott-Wiley.
Larson later wrote the hit musical "RENT," but died before his show became a staple of modern American musical theater, Scott-Wiley said.
Scott-Wiley, who directed the Trustus Theatre's adaptation of "RENT" in 2009, is back to direct the "Tick, Tick... BOOM!" production. "Tick, Tick... Boom!" had been performed live in several runs since its start in 2001 and continues to be performed today at the theatre.
"Tick, Tick… BOOM!" will have showings from Feb. 4 to Feb. 26, 2022. Fichter said the show is currently at 70% capacity as of Jan. 27, and their goal is to sell out every night.
"We (hope to) continue to create innovative, diverse, interesting theater for the Columbia patrons to see and enjoy," Fichter said.
Netflix produced a film adaptation of the show in 2021 that was directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and starred Andrew Garfield. Scott-Wiley said the Netflix adaptation is not the exact same thing as what is coming to Trustus, so anybody who liked the film will love the musical because it brings the show to life even more.
The semi-autobiographical play depicts a struggling artist, Jon, choosing between following his dreams or submitting to the demands of life. Scott-Wiley said this is incredibly relatable for people.
“I really feel like musicals, even more than regular plays … can transcend everything,” Scott-Wiley said. “The relatability just gets kind of magnified and you can’t help but feel inspired and reinforced in your own personal journey.”
The character Jon's struggle with following his dreams is a subject of intrigue, according to lighting designer Laura Anthony.
Anthony said her work was a process of making sure the lighting properly conveyed Jon's emotions so the audience could better pick up on his mood.
Larson's music, defined by its musical-tinged rock sound, portrays Jon's story and conflicting emotions in its lyrics and tone. As Larson's own story develops in complexity, so does the music, with the increase of slower, meaningful songs. Anthony said listening to this music live adds to the experience of seeing the production in person, which makes the experience different than the Netflix film.
Trustus first held "Tick, Tick... BOOM!" around 12 years ago, and according to Anthony, it is one of her favorite shows she's ever done at Trustus.
"It's very intimate, very emotional, very personal," Anthony said.
Lead actor Michael Hazin said the musical is more intimate than the Netflix version in how it's able to be performed live.
“It’s a really wonderful snapshot of a person at a particular time in their life when they’re looking at the choices they’ve made,” Hazin said.
The musical is a great narrative about having to make the decision to either stay on the safe road or follow your dreams, Hazin said. Even though Jon's (and Larson's, for that matter) story is unique in that he is a playwright, the character's struggle is still highly relatable and it is grounded in reality more than the typical, larger-than-life musical, Hazin said.
“Even though this is a snapshot of one particular person’s journey," Hazin said. "It’s easy to take yourself and put yourself in this character.”
Correction (Jan. 31, 2022, at 1:00 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly used he/him pronouns in one sentence in reference to Laura Anthony. Anthony uses she/her pronouns.