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Tick, Tick ... Boom!

From 29 critic and 254 member reviews
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.' More…

'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.

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


"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

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


"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

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

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

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

Philadelphia Inquirer

"This little musical is a treat...Good music, clever lyrics. A plot where hope and hard work are rewarded, but, sensibly and realistically, not always...The cast all have wonderfully expressive faces, strong voices that harmonize well, and they never waste the smart lyrics...Directed with obvious affection by Jonathan Silverstein, 'Tick, Tick…Boom!' doesn’t feel nearly as dated as it should, and speaks to anybody who loves the spirit of musical theatre." Full Review


"The show’s message of wanting to be heard, grappling with life going by too fast, and the right road to take in life, are issues with which we all can relate...Larson managed to literally capture his life and spirit in this show. We see his relationships with friends, family, and his love life played effortlessly here by Blaemire and Salazar...The three actors in this productions have such palpable chemistry onstage that it’s a joy to watch them reenact Larson’s emotional journey." 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


"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

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


"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

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

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

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

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

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

NY Theatre Guide

"Thanks to the strong performances of Blaemire, Renée, and Salazar, it does capture the universal frustrations of trying to create art against odds that seem insurmountable...The three actors in Keen’s production perform very nicely together, although Silverstein’s uneven direction occasionally loses the energy that certain moments need...But Blaemire, Renée, and Salazar have terrific chemistry and voices, finding equal measures of humor and pathos in Larson’s self-exploration." 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

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


"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

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

Jonathan larson's masterpiece

See it if You love RENT. See it if you don't love RENT (moi).

Don't see it if Can't think of any reason not to see this. I relate to the show's mere 12 songs more than any of RENT'S 40-something songs, minus voice mail

Also Hey, you all remember that one show about money, AIDS and gay people b... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You are a fan of Jonathan Larson.

Don't see it if You only like big grand ensemble driven musicals

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

Funny, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing



Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Romantic, Great singing

See it if Love a smart, beautiful experience.

Don't see it if You are not sentimental.

Delightful, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great singing

See it if You are a fan of Jonathan Larson. Or if you enjoy intimate musicals-this employs a delightful pop/rock score with three superb actor/singers

Don't see it if You don't like exploring what life can be like for artists in New York City or if you don't like pop/rock style musical theatre

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Must see, Great singing

See it if you are a fan of Jonathan Larson and his work.

Don't see it if you have no clue who Jonathan Larson is!

Great acting, Must see, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You are a fan of Rent and Jonathan Larson

Don't see it if You can't make it in time for the limited run

Clever, Intelligent, Masterful, Great singing, Great staging

See it if The staging and cast were incredible! So beautiful and so touching. See if you love Jonathan Larson and his legacy!

Don't see it if Do not see if you are looking for a fun musical with no plot. This was beautifully done and kept you on edge the entire time.

Absorbing, Must see, Quirky, Great writing, Great singing

See it if You are a fan of Rent and want to see some great comedy, and fantastic music and script

Don't see it if You have issues with cursing

Funny, Absorbing, Relevant, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you're a fan of Jonathan Larson's work, or are looking for musicals with wonderful scores.

Don't see it if you do not like RENT, or musicals with very small casts.

Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you love original works with strong scores performed to perfection

Don't see it if you expect big production numbers and fancy sets

Absorbing, Delightful, Great acting, Great writing, Great singing

See it if You love Jonathan Larson or LIVE for "Rent"; the music is in the same vain. 3 actors play multiple characters- great transitions. Band ✔️+

Don't see it if You hate musicals. Cuss words. Homosexuals. "Rent". Smaller staging. Band on stage. I was only disappointed that "Rent" wasn't alluded to.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great singing

See it if you love Rent, and Jonathan Larson's personal story. Amazing performances and music. A big Broadway experience in an intimate theater.

Don't see it if you hate pioneering, cutting-edge musicals that tell the story of an artist and his genius.

Delightful, Epic, Intelligent, Great singing

See it if you are a Larson fan. It's enchanting and meaningful and was especially fun to see right after I saw Sunday in the Park with George.

Don't see it if you are looking for big production numbers. But actually you should still see it, it's great.

Must see, Refreshing, Relevant, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You like musicals,especially if you like Rent.Beautiful singing, i left the theater in awe and became an instant fan of Ciara Renee

Don't see it if You don't like musicals, or are expecting a big production

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Refreshing, Touching

See it if An upbeat heartfelt musical with catchy songs and energetic staging for 3 performers. I loved the vocals. I've seen it twice now!

Don't see it if You are looking for something more dramatic, or for a bigger production. I thought it was just right.

Must see, Resonant, Great singing

See it if You want to see a real composer's story, the struggle before Jonathan Larson made it big. Songs are Rent-seque but better!

Don't see it if Turning 30 bothers you so much you can't listen to fun songs about it.

Clever, Thought-provoking, Must see, Relevant, Great singing

See it if You wanna see Jonathan Larson's "other" great musical. Also if you're in your 30's or if your birthday's coming up

Don't see it if You don't wanna feel the stress of getting older (but that's a part of growing up), or you're under of any of life's pressures

Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy honest coming of age stories with fantastic music done beautifully

Don't see it if you don't like "rock" musicals a la rent. Or you are looking for a big splashy show.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Masterful, Great writing

See it if The true story of becoming an artist has never been more beautifully, delightfully or honestly told. This production is a powerhouse.

Don't see it if This is not about cats or munchkins or flying carpets. It is is an intimate piece about human beings finding their way in life.

Clever, Delightful, Resonant, Emotional, Great singing

See it if you enjoy a delightful, three hander musical with minimal sets, but maximum talent. What happens when we don't meet our life goals?

Don't see it if you dislike musicals, or you're feeling too much like the brass ring you set for yourself is out of reach.

Also Tick, Tick...BOOM! is one of those plays that I went to see for a part... Read more Read less

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you love shows that involve you, amuse you, and touch you. This Jonathan Larsen gem is as moving as Rent. Nick Blaemire is brilliant.

Don't see it if you are an idiot!Seriously this is an iconic show that is not revived often.This is a first rate production with knock 'em dead performances

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great writing, Great singing

See it if you have ever been at a crossroads in your life.

Don't see it if you prefer "big" shows with high production value.

Thought-provoking, Profound, Refreshing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you love the story and music

Don't see it if you don't think anyone can top the original production

Cast & Creatives (14)