Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Great acting, Resonant, Absorbing

About the show

Keen Company revives this autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning creator of 'Rent.'

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'Tick, Tick… BOOM!' is the story of an aspiring composer questioning his life choices on the eve of his 30th birthday. His girlfriend wants to get married and move out of the city, his best friend is making big bucks on Madison Avenue, but Jon is still waiting on tables and trying to write the great American musical. This exhilarating, funny, and moving work by the late Larson will speak to anyone who's ever gotten lost on the way to finding their dreams.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews


"A superb Off-Broadway revival...The score has a solid hard rock foundation flooded with smart and emotionally thick lyrics...Nick Blaemire bears a substantial resemblance to Larson...In what is perhaps the quietest and most introspective 11 o'clock number in musical theatre, he lovingly expresses Jonathan's need to always be creating...'Tick, Tick...Boom!' is an incisive self-portrait and perhaps the most underappreciated musical that has played on or Off-Broadway this century." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Capably revived by Keen Company’s Jonathan Silverstein, the musical offers an entertaining if uneven look at artistic anxiety...The stakes seem somewhat low in this version; although Blaemire is likable as always, one misses the intensity that Raúl Esparza and Lin-Manuel Miranda brought to the role. Still, Larson’s untimely death shadows the musical with poignancy. Jonathan is even righter than he fears: You never know when life is going to lower the boom." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Its rough edges have been lovingly kept intact...While Auburn's cobbled-together book is little more than serviceable, Larson's pop-rock score is quite a bit more...The songs are consistently tuneful and peppy, enlivened by witty lyrics often reminiscent of Jonathan's idol, Stephen Sondheim...This version of the show lacks the impact of the original production or the 2014 City Center Encores! rendition...but it works quite well on its own terms." Full Review


"This mounting not only presents a little-known masterwork in all its glory, but also leaves us heartbroken at the prospect of what could have been had Larson's life not ended in 1996...Blaemire, a writer and performer who's seen his share of theatrical heartbreak, brings to the table an intrinsic understanding of the highs and lows of show business, one that grounds his Jonathan in reality...Unfortunately, the three gifted stars are done a major disservice by Evans' muddled sound design." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Jonathan Silverstein's production is alert to the material's constantly shifting moods, by turns sassy, satirical, and heartbreaking...'Tick, Tick...Boom!' is a chamber piece but it packs an emotional punch that many bigger musicals might envy. This is especially so in the two climactic numbers...'Tick, Tick...Boom!' is that rarest of things, a musical with a soul, our awareness of Larson's real-life fate only deepening its message of carpe diem." Full Review

The New York Times

"An affectionate, emotionally slight production...If Blaemire lacks the preternatural charm Esparza lent the role, he brings comic ease and ready sympathy...Salazar and Renée seem less suited to their roles...You can sense the director Jonathan Silverstein’s enthusiasm for the material in the bright pacing, the sprightly use of the onstage band, the generosity toward the performers. But surely the show would resonate more richly if he had helped them realize the relationships more fully." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Larson’s emotional investment and his verbal and musical imagination go far in turning narrative dross into theatre gold. While not every song is dynamite—several sound similar to other musical theatre numbers—enough are standouts to make them worth waiting for...This revival of ‘Tick, Tick...BOOM!’ deserves an extended run. But just in case it doesn’t get one I recommend that you hasten down to 42nd Street and see what all the ticking’s about." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"No production I've seen since the original has done more than this one to highlight the urgency beneath the uncertainty for everyone, not just Jonathan...At its best, the show is emotionally overwhelming, with Silverstein ensuring maximum impact through his crisp, focused staging and smart application of Jennifer Paar's costumes and Josh Bradford's lights...It's as good as you could hope for, and a stirring reminder of the boundless opportunities that still exist within life and theatre alike." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"Energetic, well sung and a slice of time captured by the late Larson...The thing missing here is chemistry and a sense of urgency for time running out. The stakes never seem high enough. Silverstein obviously loves this material, but his direction is all over the place. The vocal arrangements and orchestrations by Ormus are so well done, thanks to musical director Joey Chancey, who brings out the best in this material...For a musical journey 'Tick, Tick…Boom!' is the show to see." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"On the downside, 'Tick Tick…Boom' makes us compare this work to the legendary 'Rent' which earned Larson three Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize. And that comparison isn’t always kind...Blaemire is perfectly cast, not only looking the part, but also engaging and dynamic...Director Jonathan Silverstein and choreographer Christine O’Grady do an impressive job keeping this story moving along at such an engaging pace." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"The delightful autobiographical musical that clearly delineates Mr. Larson’s path to success...Keen Company has wisely chosen this young musical to celebrate Larson’s life and craft on this 20th anniversary year of 'Rent.' Under Jonathan Silverstein’s visionary and judicious direction, the cast captures the importance of making choices and determining to stand by those choices that are authentic and honest...A reminder that everyone clutches at life knowing it could end at any moment." Full Review

Front Row Center

"Charming, touching, relevant and well-performed...Unfortunately, the chemistry between Clara Renee and Nick Blaemire is not as palpable as between Blaemire and Salazar...I truly enjoyed it. I was moved, I identified with the essential struggles of the protagonist and thought they were universal and timeless. But I walked away from the performance with questions running around my head...But I wouldn’t have missed it, and if you’re a fan of musical theater, you shouldn’t either." Full Review


"Passionate at its core but sluggish in plotting...This narrative framework showcases Larson’s catchy rock/pop score that is well-crafted but without any real standout songs...Mr. Blaemire makes up for a lack of innate charisma with his exceptional acting and singing talents. Ciara Renée as Susan and George Salazar as Michael are very appealing...Drags at times despite the best efforts of everyone involved but ultimately it is a spirited rendition of Jonathan Larson’s vision. Full Review


"In practically every moment of this 90-minute piece’s self-aware dialogue and each note of the remarkable score by Larson, one is acutely aware of just how tragic the writer’s unexpected death was in 1996...Blaemire perfectly captures each of Jon’s emotions and mood swings without ever losing our empathy...One of the pluses of Silverstein’s simple, sincere production is how well it brings out the true depth of friendship between Jon and Michael even as their life’s paths begin to diverge." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"Director Jonathan Silverstein uses the stage particularly well. Characterization and chemistry are less well attended. On the one hand, this is a young, hyper-personal, self-indulgent piece with little melody and cliché-ridden lyrics. On the other, it describes circumstances with which it’s easy to empathize, has an appealing lead, and is energetically and imaginatively staged." Full Review

Broadway & Me

"It drives home how great a loss Larson's death was for musical theater...The rock-infused songs run from love ballads to a humorous number about working the weekend brunch shift at a diner that slyly references Sondheim's 'Sunday'...Nick Blaemire, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Larson, is totally winning as the conflicted Jon...He channels Larson with such authentic sincerity that his performance is as openly emotional as the best of his idol's songs." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"The cast perform all tasks–zipping the very movable furniture, tables, chairs and piano around the basically bare stage, as they sing and dance...Special kudos to director Jonathan Silverstein as his nimble hand works wonders deftly moving the 90-minute piece along. By the time it’s over, you’ll wonder where the time went. This is a BIG little show with an exuberant, high-energy cast that punctuates the humor and levels it with just the right amount of pathos." Full Review


"Just plain great...The all-around skillful team staging this 'Tick' does right by the show’s simple, focused story, letting its sincerity and real-life evocativeness shine. It’s a tale that very much hangs together...There’s plenty of humor, mostly the sweet kind, throughout...The lyrics too are mostly clever and funny, lapsing into cliché only sporadically, as in the unsatisfying closing number...When the three voices combine in harmony and counterpoint the results are thrilling." Full Review

Musical Theater Review

"The happy ending can seem a little pat or contrived, but the depth of feeling brought to the Keen Company production, directed with verve by Keen’s artistic director Jonathan Silverstein, gives it an emotional charge...Blaemire brings an ingratiating everyman quality to the role, and he’s vigorously supported by Ciara Renée as Susan and George Salazar as Michael...Most importantly, 'Tick, Tick…Boom!' is a showcase for the versatility of Larson’s musical genius." Full Review

Manhattan Digest

"The three person show moves at rapid speed and leaves you cheering for the entire cast...'Tick, Tick…Boom! is not nearly as familiar to audiences as 'Rent,' but one should not underestimate the excellent score...Silverstein’s staging is effective, but this new version loses some of the intimacy that the original had...Still, there is much to admire here...May not go down in history as one of the best musicals ever scripted but it is undeniably a solid one." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"While Larson’s original 'Boom!' may have been in part a love letter to his idol, this current incarnation, as directed by Silverstein, is a love letter to Larson, and wonderfully so...Watching Jon find his happy ending is satisfying, but it makes you ache for what could have been: that Larson could’ve gone on to write so much more is a very real tragedy. Twenty years after his death, 'Tick, Tick…Boom!' is a hopeful and fitting tribute." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"The show belongs to Nick Blaemire, who portrays Jonathan with geeky sensuality. His love for his work (both actor and composer) is infectious, and manages to fill the Acorn Theatre’s too-large proscenium. The theatre swallows the show, in spite of Jonathan Silverstein’s swift direction. Christine O’Grady’s choreography feels unnecessarily ambitious at times. But there are plentiful moments that offer a sense of Larson’s blooming talent." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"A sweet, searching tale about artists and the sacrifices they make for their art...The singing and performances by the three leads and the onstage band are all top-notch. The songs are just okay, mostly forgettable, and some of the lyrics are strangely incoherent and often silly ('Sugar' is about Jon’s love for Twinkies). The story, about friendship, art and sacrifice, is way more compelling." Full Review

NY Theatre Guide

"Blaemire plays the conflicted artist to a T, and when he gets a voice mail from Stephen Sondheim after a successful workshop, his stunned stillness is simply beautiful...The songs, by Larson, have threads within them that sound like 'Rent' trying to come out...Apart from the rather silly and pointless 'Green Green Dress,' every song has a purpose, a hook, and an identity within the work...Brilliant staging with an admirable cast and crew makes the Keen Company’s production an absolute joy." Full Review

Off Off Online

"Fans of his 1996 hit rock musical are likely to thoroughly enjoy the Keen Company production of 'Tick, Tick… Boom!'...The actors, backed by four extremely talented musicians, successfully deliver Larson’s material song after song...Under Jonathan Silverstein’s direction, Blaemire’s talent is central to the production; however, it is Renée who owns it. Silverstein’s staging is fun—distinctly and expressively building the anxiety of turning 30 to a rich crescendo." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Enchanting, Exquisite, Intelligent, Refreshing, Great writing

See it if you like a period piece that is fast moving and very enchanting.

Don't see it if I would see it.

Edgy, Resonant, Great writing, Dated, Entertaining

See it if You are a fan of Jonathan Larson/Rent, you like rock chamber musicals. Music isn't as memorable as Rent but as a whole is quite compelling.

Don't see it if You don't like rock musicals or small casts (3 person show). Show is dated (takes place in the 90's).

Absorbing, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if musical before Rent, about self confidence

Don't see it if don't like small scale musicals

Resonant, Riveting, Indulgent, Dated, Entertaining

See it if you are a fan of Rent, and you are interested in Jonathan Larson's earlier works.

Don't see it if you are expecting some set changes as well as costumes, this show is pretty much workshop style just like how it was intended to.

Funny, Thought-provoking, Dated, Entertaining

See it if You want to see Proto-Rent

Don't see it if You are uninterested in seeing a watered-down Rent

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Profound, Quirky

See it if You've ever felt like you weren't on the right path. You're approaching 30 or have turned 30. You loved RENT. You enjoy a small cast.

Don't see it if Want an extravagant show with big numbers. Want a show with a big cast. Trigger warning: HIV

Absorbing, Delightful, Must see, Entertaining

See it if It was super .. loved the Raul Essparza version as well . We liked it better than Rent. Caught the last performance

Don't see it if It was closing night...... Sorry

Clever, Great acting, Indulgent, Dated, Great singing

See it if you're interested in Jonathan Larson. This is fascinating and contains bits of evidence of his legitimately huge but underdeveloped talent.

Don't see it if you're sensitive to anything in the vicinity of cloying - Larson was nothing if not ernest - or curiously unfortunate sound design.

Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you like Johnathan Larson, enjoyed Rent and are interested in a somewhat autobiographical story.

Don't see it if you aren't interested in small productions, or are looking for a typical Broadway show

Overrated, Slow, Entertaining, Endearing, Good first play

See it if you want to see the first time work of a playwright who had a promising future; you understand how difficult it can be to obtain your dream

Don't see it if you are looking for a big production musical with a large cast, orchestra, sets and costumes;

Ambitious, Clever, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if Earnest, rough-edged revival of Lawson's pre-Rent showcase. Able acting & singing fail to ignite lackluster book. But songs are heartfelt

Don't see it if Male leads lack charisma but Lilli Cooper shines. Lawson's raw talent on unmistakable display making untimely death even more heartbreaking

Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You like autobiographical musical shows,you loved rent

Don't see it if You don't like rent

Funny, Clever, Enchanting, Great writing, Great singing

See it if You want a terrific score (I think better than RENT) and some wonderful performances. Still a delightful show.

Don't see it if You want big and splashy. Intimate and charming. (Could use a little less amplification in such a small space.)

Resonant, Great singing

See it if you're a Jonathan Larson fan. If you want to remember how everyone feels about reaching their dreams in a critical moment in life. Poignant

Don't see it if You don't like JL's music, it's such a universal theme that it can feel cliched. But I liked the way it was handled.

Intelligent, Disappointing, Dated, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you love Jonathan Larson and want a taste of his world. This is clearly a pre-RENT musical that has all the magic of Larson and his talent.

Don't see it if you aren't interested in starving artists themes and late-20s/early 30s relationship navigating.

Riveting, Great writing, Entertaining, Great singing, A tribute!

See it if Like modern musical plays with contemporary lyrics and high energy song &dance. Appreciate creative process & search for recognition.

Don't see it if You don't understand Show business or sympathize artist anxiety. Not for those who want fluffy themes, impressive costumes & splashy sets.

Also This is a well done depiction of a struggling creative artist--songwri... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Riveting, Great singing

See it if you like amazing musical performances and great music, and if you are a fan of Rent

Don't see it if ...seriously, see it

Also Somehow this show had always escaped my radar; I knew about it but had... Read more Read less

Funny, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing



Great acting, Profound, Dated, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You love rock musicals, loved RENT and like the writing of Jonathan Larson.

Don't see it if If you expect a huge Broadway production that is light and fluffy with a big cast.

Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if you like to be inspired by stories of artists who risk a lot to pursue their passion

Don't see it if you don't like rock musicals, or if you are looking for a big chorus (this is a cast of 3)

Absorbing, Epic, Dated, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You are a Jonathan Larson fan, or if you aren't, because you should be. A charming autobiographical glimpse of his life.

Don't see it if Give this delightful show a chance unless you know nothing about Larson,or have no interest in his story.

Also Nick Blaemire's resemblance to Jonathan Larson only adds to the poigna... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great singing, Modern musical, Appealing to young audiences, Musical memoir

See it if you would love to see a rock musical. Great show for young people. Excellent acting by two actors who play multiple roles. Great singing.

Don't see it if You would not enjoy seeing a mostly bare-staged musical memoir about a young composer wanting to become the Steven Sondheim of rock musicals

Engaging, Touching, Energetic cast, Strong writing

See it if you enjoy Jonathan Larson's work; you appreciate inside references to other musicals; you can enjoy a small cast

Don't see it if you dislike rock musicals; you don't care about 90s themes

Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you like to see the thought processes of an writer/composer/playwright in the crisis point of his career.

Don't see it if you need a play to be complete and polished.

Ambitious, Enchanting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Wonderful acting and singing

See it if you enjoyed Rent or other rock musicals.

Don't see it if you don't care much for rock musicals

Cast & Creatives (14)