Friday, April 9, 2010

Cassidy Theatre: Tick, Tick... Boom!

It wasn't until the director's curtain speech that I took my (albeit limited) knowledge of the origins of Jonathan Larson's Tick, Tick... Boom for granted. In an odd position of being conceived as an autobiographical work and originally staged as a solo act before Larson's infinitely better-known RENT, and posthumously reworked by friends into a small-cast show, the music is unmistakably Larsonesque.

Like RENT, the original cast recording for TTB entered my personal collection well before the first time I saw the show, and I was interested to see how the book and music would weave together. (Rather than rehashing the complete history here, the Wikipedia entry if you're interested)

Cassidy Theatre's production, Fridays-Sundays through April 25th, stumbles but generally recovers. I thought the Jon's (Rick McGuigan) opening monologue was overly--and irritatingly--punctuated, and the opening number, 30/90, seemed bass heavy and muddy musicwise and it felt like the cast could have let out a little bit more energy. The combination of those lead to early cringing and a general feeling of dread.

The good news is the cast came up to speed for Green Green Dress and the band wasn't that far behind. By Sunday, the fourth song in this intermissionless-show the initial struggles were cast to the side. One of my favorites from the show, Sunday took on a comic dimension I had not previously known.

Lauren Merrick Blazer has a relatively small part as Karessa, but she delivered an amazingly faithful rendition of Come to Your Senses.

Kudos to Cassady for pulling out a lesser-known modern musical. During a pause early in the program I found myself thinking: If Larson was 30 in 1990 he would be 50 this year. For some reason I have a hard time envisioning the creator of RENT as 50. In the same moment I wonder what else would have come from him.


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