tick, tick... BOOM! – everything we know so far about the cast, music and plot

7 October 2021, 14:23 | Updated: 7 October 2021, 22:13

tick, tick... BOOM!
tick, tick... BOOM! Picture: YouTube

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut will be released on Netflix in 2021. Based on the life of ‘Rent’ composer, Jonathan Larson, this is everything we know so far about the soundtrack of this semi-autobiographical musical.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's directorial debut, tick, tick... BOOM! is a film adaption of the semi-autobiographical musical of the life of Rent composer, Jonathan Larson.

Rent is a rock musical which premiered in 1996 and is loosely based off of Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème which was written 100 years earlier.

The musical tells the story of a group of struggling artists trying to survive in 1990s New York city under the shadow of the HIV and Aids crisis.

Puccini’s opera similarly tells the tale of a group of artist friends – however, it is set in 1830s Paris, and the illness that weaves its way through the story is consumption (tuberculosis).

Read more: All the classical music references in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton

What’s the plot of tick, tick... BOOM!?

Jonathan Larson wrote tick, tick... BOOM! in 1990 originally as a solo work. The semi-autobiographical musical tells the story of a composer named ‘Jon’ living in New York City in the 1990s. Already the connections to Rent are clear.

On the cusp of his 30th birthday, Jon is worried he has chosen the wrong career and is having to wait tables in a city diner, while he writes what he hopes will be the next great American musical.

Days before he is due to showcase his work in a make-or-break performance, he is feeling the pressure from all directions; his girlfriend – who wants to chase an artistic dream away from New York, his friend – who abandoned his dream for financial security, and the Aids crisis which is casting a shadow over the artistic community.

As Jon faces this crossroads he feels the clock ticking and ponders – what are we meant to do with the time we have?

Read more: All 24 James Bond theme songs ranked from worst to best, based on musical merit

What’s the release date?

The film will have a limited release on Friday 12 November before debuting on the streaming platform Netflix one week later on Friday 19 November.

The soundtrack will be released on the same day and is expected to feature the full cast.

While the original musical featured only three characters, the film adaption stars many more, including: Andrew Garfield as Jonathan Larson, Vanessa Hudgens as Karessa Johnson, Alexandra Shipp as Susan, Robin de Jesús as Michael, Joshua Henry as Roger, Judith Light as Rosa Stevens, Bradley Whitford as Stephen Sondheim, Joanna P Adler as Molly, Noah Robbins as Simon, and Ben Levi Ross as Freddy.

Fans of the High School Musical franchise will recognise Hudgens from her starring role as Gabriella in the Disney Channel musical, but Garfield, most famous for his role as Spiderman, is a newcomer to the movie-musical scene.

The actor explained in an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that he connected with Lin-Manuel Miranda after the director asked their mutual massage therapist whether Garfield could sing.

The massage therapist told Miranda the Spiderman actor had “the most beautiful singing voice”, and a phone call was made.

Garfield is a Tony Award-winning actor for his lead role in the 2018 Broadway production of Angels in America, a play also set in New York City under the Aids crisis during the 1980s.

When will the soundtrack for tick, tick... BOOM! be out?

The cast recording of the film musical is due to be released on the same day as the theatrical release, 12 November 2021.

Music is taken from the original musical composed by Jonathan Larson, but due to an expansion of the cast, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that new songs have been added.

The first single from the film’s official soundtrack entitled ‘30/90’ is available here.