Netflix viewers have been blown away by Andrew Garfield’s ‘spectacular’ portrayal of composer Jonathan Larson in the new musical film Tick Tick…Boom!
Starring Andrew and Vanessa Hudgens, the movie is a semi-autobiographical tale of composer/playwright Jonathan’s early days as he grapples with turning 30 and the harsh reality of life as a struggling artist.
He spent years working in a diner in New York and living in a tiny apartment, which didn’t even have heating, as he tried to make it as a composer and playwright.
Larson would come to be known for his groundbreaking musical Rent, though the playwright suddenly died at 36 on the morning of Rent’s first preview performance.
Many viewers have been wowed by Garfield’s portrayal of the artist, with one writing: ‘What an incredible movie and a fantastic story. Thankyou Jonathan.’
Netflix viewers have been blown away by Andrew Garfield’s ‘remarkable’ portrayal of composer Jonathan Larsen in new musical Tick Tick…Boom! (left, Rent composer Jonathan Larson, and right, Andrew Garfield in the new film)
Larson was born to Nanette and Allan Larson in New York, on February 4, 1960 and became interested in performing arts at a young age.
Throughout his childhood, he learned to play an assortment of instruments including piano, the trumpet and tuba.
In high school, he became involved in acting and took on the lead roles in various performances at his school.
After graduating in 1978, he landed a four-year scholarship to Adelphi University in New York, where he studied acting.
Starring Andrew and Vanessa Hudgens, the film is a semi-autobiographical tale of composer/playwright Jonathan’s early days as he grapples with turning 30 and the harsh reality of life as a struggling artist
While he was at Adelphi, Jonathan wrote a fan letter to Stephen Sondheim, who wrote back to him and became his mentor.
During his college years, he began music composition, writing music for small student productions.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, he moved into a loft with no heating on the fifth floor of a building in Lower Manhattan, where he lived with various roommates.
For the next nine and a half years Larson worked as a waiter at the Moondance Diner in New York on the weekends and worked on composing and writing musicals during the week.
Many viewers have been wowed by Garfield’s portrayal of the artist, with some saying they were left in tears by the ‘incredible’ film
WHAT ARE AORTIC ANEURYSMS AND WHY ARE THEY SO DEADLY?
In 2016, 1,670 British men aged 65-plus were killed by aneurysms that suddenly burst, making it a bigger cause of death than many cancers including skin, testicular or thyroid.
Fifty per cent of people with a ruptured aneurysm die before reaching hospital and of those who make it, the average odds on surviving surgery are only 50-50.
An aortic aneurysm can cause discomfort but most people are not aware that they have one until it is picked up on a scan.
If it ruptures, it causes mass internal bleeding, which is usually fatal.
No one knows the cause for sure, but smoking is implicated and it is associated with hardening of the arteries.
High-fat diets and being overweight also increase the risk of the blood vessel bursting.
The long-term prognosis for aneurysm patients is excellent, but quitting smoking is vital.
It was a difficult period for Larson, who attempted to write several theatre shows, with varying success.
Between 1983 and 1990, Larson wrote Superbia, intended as a futuristic rock retelling of George Orwell’s book Nineteen Eighty-Four.
However, despite some successful performances, it was never fully produced.
His next work, Tick, tick…Boom! documented his feelings of rejection caused by the disappointment of Superbia.
In it, Larson crooned and brooded as he grappled with turning 30 and the harsh reality of life as a struggling artist.
The show was performed off-Broadway at the Village Gate in Greenwich Village, as well as at the Second Stage Theater, then on the Upper West Side.
It was in 1988 that playwright Billy Aronson came up with the idea to write a musical update of La Bohème.
He wanted to create ‘a musical inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, in which the luscious splendor of Puccini’s world would be replaced with the coarseness and noise of modern New York’.
The following year, he contacted Larson to collaborate on the project.
He wanted to write about his own experience, and in 1991, he asked Aronson if he could use the original concept they collaborated on and make Rent his own.
Larson brought autobiographical elements to the project, including he and his roommates keeping an illegal wood-burning stove because of lack of heat in their building.
By this stage, Larson had lost several friends to the AIDS crisis – and the musical evolved to tell the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in Lower Manhattan’s East Village under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.
But days before Rent was due to be previewed on stage, Larson began suffering severe chest pains, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
The composer went on to write Rent, which premiered Off-Broadway on January 25, 1996 (pictured)
After Larson’s death, and the massive success of Rent, Pulitzer-winning playwright David Auburn (Proof) was brought in to re-configure the one-man show Tick, Tick…Boom into a three-character musical (pictured, Andrew Garfield in the film)
Doctors at Cabrini Medical Center and St. Vincent’s Hospital could not find signs of an aortic aneurysm even after conducting a chest X-ray and electrocardiogram, so they misdiagnosed it either as flu or stress.
What is Marfan Syndrome?
Marfan syndrome is a disorder of the body’s connective tissues – a group of tissues that maintain the structure of the body and support internal organs and other tissues.
Children usually inherit the disorder from one of their parents.
Typical characteristics of Marfan syndrome include:
- being tall
- abnormally long and slender limbs, fingers, and toes (arachnodactyly)
- heart defects
- lens dislocation – the lens of the eye falls into an abnormal position
There’s no cure for Marfan syndrome, so treatment focuses on managing the symptoms and reducing the risk of complications.
However Larson died at his home in the early morning hours of January 25, 1996, the day of Rent’s first Off-Broadway preview performance.
He suffered an aortic dissection, believed to have been caused by undiagnosed Marfan syndrome.
New York State medical investigators concluded that if the aortic dissection had been properly diagnosed and treated with surgical repair, Larson may have lived.
Hours after his death, Larson’s parents gave their blessing to open the show.
Rent played through its planned engagement to sold-out crowds and was continually extended.
It moved to Broadway, and opened at the Nederlander Theatre on April 29, 1996.
It played on Broadway its debut until September 7, 2008.
After Larson’s death, and the massive success of Rent, Pulitzer-winning playwright David Auburn (Proof) was brought in to re-configure the one-man show Tick, Tick…Boom into a three-character musical.
The revamped Tick, Tick… Boom debuted Off Broadway in 2001, starring Raul Esparza as Jon, Jerry Dixon as Michael and Amy Spanger as Susan.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who played Jon in the Encores! Off-Center revival in 2014, directed the film adaptation, with Robin de Jesus playing Michael and Alexandra Shipp playing Susan.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who played Jon in the Encores! Off-Center revival in 2014, directed the film adaptation, with Robin de Jesus playing Michael and Alexandra Shipp playing Susan
It premiered on Netflix over the weekend, with many viewers confessing they were amazed by Garfield’s portrayal of Larson.’
One person commented: ‘Finally watching TickTickBoom and I’m already crying after the first number soo it’s gonna be a long night I guess? But loving every minute.’
Another wrote: ‘Barely past the opening credits – already crying.’
A third commented: ‘Tick, Tick…Boom is wonderful. I ran the gamut of emotions and feel like crying even now. Lin Manuel Miranda has a bright future directing films in addition to Broadway shows.’