by John Stoehr
It's gone by faster than you thought. The last two shows of Jonathan Larson's rock 'n' roll musical "Tick, Tick .. Boom!" are tonight and tomorrow night. It's a worthy production by Charleston Stage. I saw it last night (I'm just getting started with this arts editor thing so forgive me for not having seen opening night) and it was a solid performance, entertaining and even touching at times with bits of Larson's self-effacing humor sprinkled throughout.
As our critic Nick Smith noted in his review, the plot isn't for everyone -- and I suspect this might have something to do with less-than-robust ticket sales.
"Tick, Tick .. Boom" is autobiographical, about Larson's life before the gangbuster success of "Rent." Driving him to distraction is the impending possibility of turning 30 without having achieved all the things he'd hoped to achieve by that time: namely, Broadway kudos.
When Jon (played by Sam Weber) complains about his quarter-life crisis to his sympathetic friends, it struck me that Weber's job is made all the more difficult by having to elicit the same level of sympathy from an audience of 50-plus-somethings.
Perhaps Charleston Stage felt a show about a so-called Boomer Junior, and the creator of "Rent" no less, would appeal to a younger audience. (To be honest, my first reaction to Jon's mewling was "oh, please," but I did find myself growing more and more sympathetic.) Indeed, there were numerous young folk in the audience, but their just-walked-out-of-a-salon hair styles only punctuated a mise-en-scene of gray heads. Which, I think, is too bad. The show is worthy of attention. See for yourself.