We all grow older
By Bob and Karen Isaacs
BOB: Westport Country Playhouse is offering a very unusual musical with a very unusual name but by a very well known composer, Jonathan Larson, the guy who gave us Rent. The play is called tick,tick…BOOM!
KAREN: It is piece that he wrote before he wrote Rent. Larson died just days before Rent opened on Broadway and was a smash. This is piece that he wrote earlier – for him to perform in cabarets. But it has been turned into a three character musical. The main character, Jon, is fast approaching his 30th birthday. He’s a struggling composer of musicals.
BOB: the tick, tick is the ticking of time
KAREN: There he is. He has two friends each of whom are in the arts. One who is an actor has taken a high paying job in market research and is enjoying the perks. Jon’s girlfriend is a dancer who wants to leave New York City for Cape Cod.
BOB: She can find work out of the city.
KAREN: That is the basis of this 90 minute, intermissionless piece that is being brilliantly performed at Westport.
BOB: Colin Hanlon as Jon
KAREN: Wilson Cruz as his friend Michael and Pearl Sun as his girlfriend, Susan. These two also play a variety of other characters.
BOB: Scott Schwartz who helped develop this is also the director.
KAREN: This is a touching piece. It’s much more than just about turning 30. As the director said it’s the story of an artist struggling with the question of whether or not to continue to follow his dream or to find a more ‘realistic’ life path.
BOB: And that’s one of the issues. It’s not about getting older. It’s about I am going to get older and what do I do with the rest of my life.
KAREN: To I continue that childhood/young adult dream or does my dream change. That’s one of the issues with Susan – her dream has changed. And how do we move on with our lives. The music is somewhat rock
BOB: it’s very interesting. There are a dozen songs
KAREN: and some are terrific.
BOB: as this was being presented, I got the idea that this is the heritage of Stephen Sondheim
KAREN: and then, of course, there is an inside joke about Sondheim attending the workshop of Jon’s musical, which doesn’t get great feedback and is probably not going to go anywhere.
BOB: but Stephen Sondheim calls him
KAREN: and I suspect that is Sondheim’s actual voice. Anyway, this is a very interesting and good musical. I enjoyed it. Probably younger audiences might enjoy more. It runs through July 18.
BOB: We enjoyed tick, tick…BOOM, very much.
This review appeared on WNHU 88.7 FM and www.wnhu.net. WNHU is run by the University of New Haven.