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"Tick, tick ... Boom!" Is a Netflix musical for musical haters


A musical for musical haters: Andrew Garfield sings himself straight to the heart as an almost failed artist. The Netflix musical by "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is terrificly sensitive - but not cheesy.

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Jonathan Larson (Andrew Garfield) works in the diner to finance writing musicals


Macall Polay / Netflix

There's a lot to hate about musicals. The exaltation, for example, with which every emotion is initially reduced to its most comfortable component and then expressed a hundred times over. The many eyes wide with terror and fists clenched with anger. The songs that just ruminate on what has already been suspected or even told. The renunciation of ambivalence in plot and character development. And the costumes, the dances, the make-up. You notice: A real musical hater is writing here. Actually, this text should be written in the past tense. 'Cause I've changed my mind With “tick, tick… boom!”.

The autobiographical pop musical can now be seen on Netflix.

And it's pretty much the opposite of the list above.

It's about musical creator and composer Jonathan Larson (Andrew Garfield), who also wrote it.

In 1990, shortly before his 30th birthday, he hopes for his breakthrough.

He knows: Paul McCartney had long since written the last songs with John Lennon at this age.

His role model, the musical writer and composer Stephen Sondheim, celebrated his first success at the age of 27 (with "West Side Story").

And his parents already had children, jobs, a house at his age.

Larson feels that he is running out of time.

Tick, tick, boom?

The eponymous sound, the ticking of an ever louder clock, reverberates in his chest.

Until it turns into the almost unbearable crescendo of a ticking bomb for the audience.

Tick, tick, boom?

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Larson works tirelessly


Macall Polay / Netflix

Of course, one could counter Larson with the serenity (or ignorance) of a knowing person who hears the beat of a completely different clock that he still has plenty of time.

Breakthrough at 30 or 34, what does that matter?


Because of course Larson is not only interested in artistic recognition, a little fame and the certainty that he has not wasted his previous life.

Larson lives with his best friend on the lower end of the subsistence level in a shabby apartment in New York.

He works in a diner to afford writing and composing musicals.

And if “Superbia”, on which he has been working for eight years, does not find a producer and is performed soon, then he is not a musical creator who works as a waiter.

"But a waiter with a hobby," as he himself explains desperately.

Fresher, rockier, more modern

Or maybe Larson is driven like this because he feels that he actually doesn't have that much time left.

The playwright and composer is rather unknown in Germany.

It's different in the USA.

His rock musical "Rent", which premiered in 1996, is one of the most successful on Broadway.

It won several Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize.

Because it changed the way musicals were told.

Fresher, rockier, more modern.

It was the breakthrough that his character in "tick, tick, ... Boom!" Is so desperately hoping for.

However, he never saw it himself.

Larson died of an aneurysm on the day of the premiere.

Tick, tick, boom.

Between energy and dejection

Andrew Garfield plays this artist who is waiting for success and who suffers from himself and his work with a lot of heart, without drifting into pathos. He transfers the tension to his entire body, lets his fingertips drum melodies from nervousness and existential fear. This Larson oscillates between excessive energy and absolute dejection, Garfield sings and dances grandiose for his life. And he exposes ambivalences in a completely non-musical way: the driven nature of such an artist is often confused with genius. Garfield, however, lets this self-circling narcissism, which is inherent in every delusional worker, not only become self-destructive, but also become more and more of a burden for his friends.

The fact that »tick, tick… Boom!« Tells sensitive and warm-hearted and by no means uncritical about this artist's life is of course also due to director Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The musical creator has already swept a lot of dust from this genre with the award-winning hip-hop musical "Hamilton" by casting the play about an American founding father with non-white actors and thus retelling American history in a revolutionary way.

Of course, “tick, tick… boom!” Is also diverse.

In it Miranda tells not only about Larson's ticking clock, but also about the time bombs of the others - such as Larson's homosexual friends who contracted HIV and fear not for their breakthrough, but for their lives.

Larson will not succeed in the end.

The musical he worked on for eight years will be considered too expensive and too complicated.

It will be years before he writes "Rent" and tragically dies.

The film ends with his defeat.

Quite unmusical, pretty good.

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2021-11-24

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