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Theatre / tick, tick... BOOM!

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Fear or love, baby, don't say the answer
Actions speak louder than words
— "Louder Than Words"

tick, tick... BOOM! is a musical with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson. The work was partly autobiographical, although it was not produced until after Larson's death in 1996. The show is also partily a tribute to Larson's idol, Stephen Sondheim, with its plot driven similarly to Company. One song, "Sunday", is an update of a song of the same name from Sunday in the Park with George.


The show's main character is Jon, a struggling composer about to celebrate his 30th birthday. His best friend Michael, a successful businessman, encourages Jon to pursue a more stable, better-paying career. Jon's girlfriend Susan, a dancer working as a ballet instructor, is ready to settle down and start a family. In the middle of trying to get his own musical produced, Jon has to decide what he really wants to do with his life.


tick, tick... BOOM! provides examples of:

  • Bath of Poverty: The song "No More" has Jon and Michael listing things Michael doesn't have to put up with now that he's no longer poor and has moved into a nicer apartment:
    No more taking a shower in the kitchen
    While your roommate's eating breakfast
    And you're getting water on his cornflakes!
  • Homage: The show is a giant one to Stephen Sondheim, mostly obviously in "Sunday".
  • "I Am" Song / "I Want" Song: "Why", which comes very late in the story.
  • "I Want" Song: "Johnny Can't Decide"
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Jonathan Larson wrote a musical about a composer named Jon who's writing a musical.
  • Ode to Food: "Sugar" is a song that sounds like it's about picking up a prostitute, but halfway through, it turns out to be about buying Twinkies.
  • Reclusive Artist: Jon, in-universe.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show Within a Show: Jon's musical, SUPERBIA.
  • Wham Line: "I know I'm sick, Jon, and I'm not going to get any better."


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