Ever since Hamilton exploded a few years ago, Lin-Manuel Miranda has been making a bigger and bigger name for himself in Hollywood. While he was no stranger to film or television, he landed a major role in the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns and now he’s set to make his feature directing debut on the big screen adaptation of Tick, Tick…Boom!, the autobiographical musical of Rent playwright Jonathan Larson.
Set in 1990, Tick, Tick…Boom! tells the story of Jon, an aspiring theater composer who is waiting tables in New York City while writing Superbia – which he hopes will be the next great American musical and finally give him his big break. Jon is also feeling pressure from his girlfriend Susan, who is tired of continuing to put her life on hold for Jon’s career aspirations. Meanwhile, his best friend and roommate Michael, has given up on his creative aspirations for a high paying advertising job on Madison Avenue and is about to move out. As Jon approaches his 30th birthday, he is overcome with anxiety – wondering if his dream is worth the cost.
Larson’s breakout was Rent, but tragically, he died the night before the show’s first preview performance. The show went on to win the Tony for Best Musical in 1996, a Pulitzer Prize, and spent twelve years on Broadway.
In a statement, Miranda talked about what a major influence Tick, Tick was on his life and career:
“Tick, Tick…Boom! first entered my life in college when I was lucky enough to snag a seat at the Jane Street Theater in 2001,” Miranda said. “Jonathan Larson’s captivating storytelling in Rent first taught me that musicals could be contemporary, true to life, and depict your own experiences. But it was Tick, Tick…Boom! that solidified that drive in me to hone my own voice as a playwright. On stage, playing the role of ‘Jon’ in 2014 was one of my most honored achievements. To now have the opportunity to make my film directorial debut, in collaboration with the Larson Family and this incredible creative team, and to adapt a work I love so deeply, is a humbling privilege. Together, we aim to honor Jonathan’s legacy and continue to position his work to inspire the next generation of storytellers.”
It will be interesting to see a big screen musical in Miranda’s hands. While it will be a very long time before Hamilton ever graces the big screen, Miranda’s first Tony-winning musical, In the Heights, is currently in pre-production with a script by book writer Quiara Alegría Hudes and direction from Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians).
It should be fascinating to see what Miranda does with a blend of musical and cinema, and I hope Tick, Tick…Boom! comes together sooner rather than later.