The talented Jonathan Larson lives in a small New York apartment and writes musicals.
To make a living, Larsen worked in a restaurant while writing.
Between 1983 and 1990, he had been working on a musical called Superbia, which sadly never made it to the stage.
He completed the autobiographical rock musical “Tick, Tick…Boom!” in 1991, expressing his disappointment at Superbia’s setback.
On January 25, 1996, Larson died of an aortic dissection just a dozen hours before a preview of Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway.
Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway premiered on Off-Broadway on February 13, 1996. Because of its popularity, it opened at the Dutch Theater on Broadway on April 29 of the same year.
The show went on to win four Tony Awards, six Drama Society Awards, and countless other musical awards.
Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway has performed for 12 years in one go, performed more than 5,000 shows on Broadway, toured 12,000 times worldwide, and came to China in 2018.
But Jonathan Larson didn’t live to hear the thunderous applause.
If you were asked to film Larson’s story, which one would you choose?
80% of people may think of the years of creating Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway, and the regret of not being able to see the premiere of the work. Because the audience is the most familiar and extremely dramatic.
However, director Lin-Manuel Miranda chose to adapt Larsen’s “Tick, Tick…Boom!”, which is the story of his creation of Superbia. To be more precise, focus on the days when he wrote Superbia’s last song.
Superbia, which Larson has written for eight years, is basically taking shape, and a few days later, famous Broadway producers will be watching the premiere of the new show live, and their feedback will directly determine whether Superbia can be put into production.
But after being reminded by others, Larson realized that a key song was missing from the play.
Without the excess of this song, the emotional transformation of the protagonist would be difficult to establish.
Larson wasn’t particularly anxious at first, because he was a genius who could make up a melody when he saw anything in life.
But the new song was too important for Larson to rack his brains to write.
During this period, he also went to work in restaurants, arranged actor rehearsal, and dealt with his precarious relationship with his girlfriend Susan.
Susan gets a good job offer, and if accepted, she must leave New York.
But there is only one Broadway in the world, and Broadway is in New York.
Larsen couldn’t give up on her dream and didn’t want to stop Susan from taking a job.
Because he doesn’t have this qualification, he is a down-and-out musician who can’t even pay his own electricity bill, so what qualifications does he have to keep Susan?
The girlfriend didn’t really want to leave, she was waiting for Larsen’s retention.
Just as Larsen can continue to create for two more years after hearing a word of praise and encouragement from the producer, perhaps Susan also wants Larsen’s commitment to support her to continue this unstable life.
His good friend Mike knew for a long time that he was not talented enough to be a musical actor, so he switched careers to become an advertising man, earning a generous salary and living in a spacious apartment.
Larson wanted to fight. He had achieved some achievements in his early years. Although it was not enough for him to devote himself to the creation of musicals full-time, it gave him a burst of confidence and supported him to polish a work in eight years.
Here’s a look at how musicals are created.
The creator has to write the music of the entire play in one go, which not only requires extremely strict ability to write lyrics and compose music, but also make the plot fascinating, and the music and the story can be perfectly integrated.
Dozens of songs in a play are the minimum standard, and the author has to write more as a backup.
What’s more perverted is that this is not a closed-door industry.
The initial investment in musicals is huge, especially for plays on Broadway. Even the rent of theaters around Times Square is not cheap.
It is not enough that the audience likes it. You must first have good actors, producers and investors who are willing to put the work on the stage, and audiences who are willing to come in and buy tickets. .
Therefore, this is a profession that is about to perish. Only industry leaders and old players with certain accumulation and connections can afford it.
On “Tick, Tick…Boom!”, the writing of the last song almost drove Larson crazy.
So the audience can imagine that in the past eight years, he must have spent such sleepless nights.
And after Superbia, what kind of perseverance did he use to finish the masterpiece Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway?
The performance was a great success. Many producers recognized Larson’s talent and potential, but felt that Superbia was not commercial enough, and no one was willing to pay for the production.
Years of hard work day and night are instantly reduced to zero. Not everyone can bear such a stimulus.
Mike has AIDS, and his time is short; Susan decides to leave New York to accept a job offer; and Larson, who has failed a public performance, regroups and decides to enter the creation of the next musical.
It’s only eight years, and it’s better to do it again!
It was this moment that had a huge impact on me.
It hit me even more than the successful debut of Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway.
Larson without God’s perspective doesn’t know that the next show will be a success, what if it’s the same outcome?
And to be honest, in terms of the abnormal production process of musicals, failure is a high probability event.
Larsen has no turning back, as if he is fighting with his life to the death. It is hard for me to imagine the pressure he is under, but my admiration for him cannot be overstated.
Then I thought more, the success of Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway made Larson’s existence known to audiences all over the world, and more creators who didn’t write their own Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway, where will they go?
This level of “Tick, Tick…Boom!” is what strikes me the most.
Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway The success of Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway is only covered by a few shots, and because of Larson’s past, it doesn’t matter whether the show is successful or not.
The span of the whole movie is not large, and this tiny slice has already explained his life in various ways.
Compared with those biographical films with a huge span, I like this micro-shooting method with small to big.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, a popular Broadway celebrity, wrote “Hamilton” and “In the Heights”, participated in the movie “Mary Poppins Returns”, and shot her first film work “Tick, Tick… Boom!”.
Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway is the story of a group of young people living in humble apartments in New York who can’t pay their rent, and you’ll find “In the Heights” has a very similar expression.
Lin-Manuel Miranda watched Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway for the first time as a 17-year-old high school student. Before that, he thought musicals should be grand and serious like Great Performances: Cats and “The Phantom of the Opera”. .
But Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway made him realize that musicals can write stories around them, so “there would be no “In the Heights” without Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway.”
So in this “Tick, Tick…Boom!” by Lin-Manuel Miranda, in addition to his consistently brilliant writing and cameo appearances with an All-Broadway cast, we get to see the intense emotion he infuses for Larson .
As a playwright, he must have a better understanding of the cruelty of this industry and the countless sleepless nights of Larson’s creation.
Garfield’s performance is also at the Oscar level. He combines extreme desperation and extreme self-confidence, and fully expresses that unconditional enthusiasm for creation.
Finally, the video of Larson’s death is released, and you will know how expressive Garfield’s interpretation is.
After Emma Stone won the Oscar for “La La Land”, will next year’s Oscar belong to Garfield and “Tick, Tick…Boom!”?
After watching the film, I don’t actually feel sorry for Larsen, and even a little envious of him.
Many people spend their entire lives without finding a field they love and a passion for it that they are willing to fight for their entire lives.
But Larson found it, and although his life was short, I believe he enjoyed every second of creating in his small apartment.