By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
has been basking in the spotlight lately and for good reason. He dug deep for his convincing portrayal of religious zealot Jim Bakker in the drama “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and now delivers an explosive performance in the stirring biographical musical “Tick, Tick… Boom!”
Garfield plays the late composer/playwright Jonathan Larson (“Rent”) who died in 1996 from an aneurysm right before the off-Broadway premiere of “Rent.” He was 35-years- old.
Of course, we knew Garfield could act after seeing “Spider-Man,” “99 Homes” and my all-time favorite, “Hacksaw Ridge,” but sing and dance too. He’s quite the showman in “Tick, Tick…Boom!”
The lively musical, which is based on Larson’s autobiographical one-man show, marks the feature directorial debut of Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, (“Encanto,” “In the Heights” and “Hamilton”) who is also having a moment.
In the “Tick, Tick… Boom!” Garfield plays Jon, a struggling playwright who feels the world is closing in on him. He is juggling a lot of things in his life like trying to keep his relationship together with his dancer girlfriend Susan (a terrific Alexandra Shipp, “Silk Road” and “Shaft”) while working odd shifts as a waiter at the Moondance Diner in Manhattan.
Jon’s biggest concern is trying to fine tune his musical “Superbia” which he has been working on for nearly eight years and particularly the song “Glory!” for a character in it (Vanessa Hudgens (“Bad Boys for Life” and TV’s “Rent: Live”). It is a crucial song for the production that was recommended to Jon by his mentor Stephen Sondheim (Bradley Whitford, TV’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”).
Jon is 30 years old and feels the clock is ticking on his career. He must get this right or see all his dreams go down the drain, like Boom!
Fortunately, he has a great support group of friends who believe in him, although his best friend and roommate Michael (Robin de Jesus, “The Boys in The Band”) has decided to tap out of the arts world and get a real job as an advertising exec.
The pressure continues to mount for Jon. Even Susan (Shipp) is considering leaving him and taking a job as a teacher because he spends more time on this musical than her.
“Tick, Tick…Boom!” showcases Jon’s fears through a stage performance with his back up singers Roger (Joshua Henry, TV’s “See”) and Karessa (Hudgens). The performance also features commentary on Jon’s life, the good and bad and culminates with him achieving his goals and becoming a singular Broadway sensation.
While it took a minute for some of the music in “Tick, Tick…Boom!” to wash over me, I really did enjoy “30/90” a dynamo song about getting older.
If you’re a fan of Jonathan Larson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Andrew Garfield, then “Tick, Tick…Boom!” will surprise and delight you. You can check out "Tick, Tick..Boom" on Netflix.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.
Watch This Trailer For "TICK, TICK...BOOM!"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.