How is Netflix's 'Tick, Tick... BOOM!' different from the musical by Jonathan Larson?

tick, tick... BOOM! the musical's official poster (Image via IMDb)
tick, tick... BOOM! the musical's official poster (Image via IMDb)

Lin-Manuel Miranda's tick, tick... BOOM! is the perfect portrayal of Jonathan Larson's musical, more or less, as it captured every essence of not only the musical but Jonathan's life.

The Andrew Garfield starrer is based on Jonathan Larson's tick, tick... BOOM! and revolves around his life on the cusp of his 30th birthday. The film also stars Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Joshua Henry, Judith Light, Vanessa Hudgens, Bradley Whitford, and Joanna P. Adler alongside special appearances by several Broadway actors.


How 'tick, tick... BOOM!' the film is different from its musical

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tick, tick... BOOM! had its world premiere at the AFI Fest on November 10, followed by a limited theatrical release on November 12 before finally releasing on Netflix on November 19.

The film is produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Julie Oh, and its official synopsis reads:

"The film follows Jon, a young theater composer who's waiting tables at a New York City diner in 1990 while writing what he hopes will be the next great American music."

1) The film uses Jonathan Larson's performance of the musical as its perspective

The original musical for tick, tick... BOOM! told the story of Jonathan Larson without actually acknowledging his death or the success of Rent whereas the film had a whole new perspective.

Lin-Manuel Miranda wanted to tell Jonathan Larson's story through tick, tick... BOOM!. He used the framing device of Jonathan, performing the musical and narrating his life through it. This is also the reason why certain song numbers like Therapy were not played as part of the narrative but were interwoven in certain scenes.


2) Superbia really did need a new song

tick, tick... BOOM! is a combination of different versions of the original script and some did not have certain scenes present in them. But director Lin-Manuel Miranda wanted the film to be a wholesome experience, which is why he chose to keep certain events, songs and scenes from the original script.

Such instances include Ira Weitzman's assignment for Jonathan to write a new song for SUPERBIA's second act. This particular event did not exist in David Auburn's 2001 adaptation although it is a true event. Ira really did ask Jonathan to do so and that's how he finished his musical.


3) Rosa never encouraged Jonathan to write more

As mentioned previously, the film uses different versions of the script as tick, tick... BOOM! is supposed to be a wholesome film without missing the important events in Jonathan's life.

In David Auburn's 2001 script, Jonathan's final conversation with Rosa doesn't actually end with encouragement but with her crushing his dreams. Although Jonathan is still a bit discouraged in the film, Rosa urges him to continue writing and even offers to lend some advice on his next project.


Still from Netflix's tick, tick... BOOM! (Image via Netflix)
Still from Netflix's tick, tick... BOOM! (Image via Netflix)

tick, tick... BOOM! is now playing in theaters and is also available to stream on Netflix.

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Edited by R. Elahi