Regional Reviews: Boston
tick, tick ... BOOM!
Also see Suzanne's recent review of Springtime for Henry
A huge contingent of Joey McIntyre fans joined scads of friends and family on opening night of tick, tick ... BOOM! to welcome him home to Boston. McIntyre joined the cast here for the last stop in the national tour. He previously played the central role in New York and was expected to head up the tour until the opportunity to be in Fox's "Boston Public" came along.
McIntyre doesn't disappoint. And considering he started in community theatre productions along the lines of The Music Man, he's returning to his roots in more than one sense. tick,tick ... BOOM! a surprisingly conventional book musical, is perfect material for him and two other talented performers, Nicole Ruth Snelson and Wilson Cruz (who play play the girlfriend and best buddy, respectively, as well as a slew of other spot-on cameos).
There were also plenty of fans of composer Jonathan Larson on hand who came to celebrate his life, cut short at the age of thirty-five right before Rent opened in New York. The fact that it went on to win four Tonys and the Pulitzer Prize in 1996, is still running on Broadway, and became a worldwide phenomenon provides the subtext that makes this show work.
Larson originally put this semi-autobiographical musical together as a solo act in 1990 with his 30th birthday looming large - a self-imposed deadline for knowing he'd make his mark on the world of musical theatre. He was deflated after getting encouragement, but no offers for further development, from a workshop of the futuristic rock musical Supurbia he'd worked on for five years.
Refashioned into a three-character piece by "script consultant" David Auburn (Proof) and director Scott Schwartz (Bat Boy, The Musical), tick, tick ... Boom! does offer a convincing glimpse into the angst that fueled a generation of theatre wannabes coming of age when Sondheim was God, but Webber owned Broadway and a BMW was as coveted as a Tony.
Turns out Larson's work is no better-no worse-than scores of other promising, talented writers also workshopping, showcasing and dying for an audience with Sondheim. He's at his best in "Sunday," his homage to the master, and "Therapy," a delightful take on relationships. The music certainly has drive, but too often takes a detour just when you think you're going somewhere.
Hard to say what might have been if the circumstances surrounding the development of Rent had been different, but it is certain that Larson was one of those people who met the true test of a person crazy enough to write for the musical theatre. As Lehman Engel used to say, "you should only do it if you can't not not do it."
tick, tick ... BOOM! at the Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont Street, Boston now through June 8th. Presented by Broadway in Boston, Clear Channel Entertainment. Performances are Tuesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm and Sunday at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster 617-931-2787, at all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com and directly at the Wilbur Theatre Box Office or the Colonial Theatre Box Office (106 Boylston Street, Boston.) For further information visit www.broadwayinboston.com or contact The Wilbur Theatre at 617-423-4008.
Orchestra seats in the first two rows for $20 on the day of performance; two hours prior to curtain at the Wilbur Box Office (available to anyone, cash only, limit two person.)
Student and Senior (65+) Rush tickets for $25.00 on the day of performance, one hour prior to curtain at the Wilbur Box Office (one ticket per valid ID, not offered Saturday evenings, subject to availability.)
- Suzanne Bixby