“tick, tick, BOOM!” MUSICALLY EXPLORES THE END OF YOUTH
BONNIE GOLDBERG

 If Peter Pan possessed Dorothy’s ruby red slippers and could ask the Wizard of Oz for one gift, he wouldn’t request the lion’s courage, the scarecrow’s brain or the tin man’s heart.  Peter Pan would want youth, the ability to never grow up.


Staying young  and not tumbling headfirst into the abyss of adulthood known as turning thirty, would also be the desperate plea of Jon, the hero of “tick, tick…BOOM!”  Playing until Saturday, July 18 at the Westport Country Playhouse, this is a lesser known musical by Jonathan Larson. Larson astounded the theater world with “Rent,” tragically dying of an aortic aneurysm at thirty five the day the play had its dress rehearsal before opening off-Broadway.  “Rent” would later earn him a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as two Tony Awards.


Just like his alter ego, Jon is a struggling composer/playwright who seeks vindication that his work has merit, especially as the clock ticks ominously toward his thirtieth birthday.  Colin Hanlon is wonderfully vital and vulnerable as Jon, questioning, agonizing, searching for his life’s purpose, wanting to achieve success in his chosen field, as he works as a waiter to pay the rent for his SoHo flat.


With him on this journey of discovery are his childhood friend Michael (Wilson Cruz), who has already abandoned his acting ambitions to become a big dude in the corporate world and Susan (Pearl Sun), a wannabe dancer who is ready to leave Jon and New York City behind for a different, saner life in New England.  Scott Schwartz directs this moving musical odyssey that will have you rooting for Jon to stay the course and not forsake his dreams.
In a dozen songs, the musicians Seth Myers, Spencer Cohen and Craig Magnano lead the talented cast through the highs and lows of Jon and his friends as they try to reconcile hopes with reality.


For tickets ($35-55), call Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off route 1, Westport at 203-227-4177 or 888-927-7529 or online at wwwwestportplayhouse.org.  Performances are Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. a Sunday at 3 p.m.
Help Jon blow out the thirty candles on his birthday cake and listen for the phone call that just might change his life.


THIS WILL APPEAR IN THE MIDDLETOWN PRESS ON JULY 2.

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