Tonawanda News

Night & Day

October 29, 2009

THEATER: 'tick, tick ... BOOM!' set to explode at NU

By Phil Dzikiy

Gregory Fletcher had mixed feelings the first time he saw Jonathan Larson’s “tick, tick ... BOOM!”

Though the Niagara University theater director enjoyed the rock musical and the score was “absolutely gorgeous,” he found himself wishing there were more cast members.

“I thought, ‘Wow, it’s a shame to hear this with just three people,’ ” Fletcher said. “When I heard the score, I just thought, ‘It would be great to hear this song by an ensemble.’ ”

Fletcher has made this a possibility. The NU production of “tick, tick ... BOOM!” will feature 12 performers, as opposed to the normal cast of three.

“I came up with a concept to have 12 people do it, and the show is just gorgeous to listen to,” Fletcher said. “I wanted to hear this show done by an ensemble instead of how it’s usually done.”

The show was originally written by Larson as a one-person show, but it was redesigned as a three-person musical after the playwright’s death. Most productions of “tick, tick” feature three actors, two men and one woman, who play various roles. But the NU production will give those roles to additional cast members.

“It just made sense,” Fletcher said. “It’s just working out really well.”

Larson is most famous for writing “RENT,” and “tick, tick” is another rock musical from the playwright.

“It’s semi-autobiographical about Jonathan Larson’s life,” Fletcher said.

The play revolves around Jon, an aspiring theater composer who is torn between following his stage dreams and going after a more secure career. The play is set in 1990, but the past 20 years have done nothing to dilute its relevance.

“It’s relevant to everyone, especially to the students,” Larson said. “Do they follow their dreams or their passion, or do they go for the money jobs that their parents want them to get?”

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