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Theater Horizon’s “Tick, Tick… Boom!” Translates Visceral Human Emotions into an ‘Explosive’ Masterpiece.

Theater Review
Theater Horizons Tick, Tick... Boom! Translates Visceral Human Emotions into an Explosive Masterpiece.

“Tick, Tick… Boom!” has been talked about for 3 years since the release of the Netflix adaptation starring Andrew Garfield. At the time I was obsessed with this movie, and now I am obsessed with the production at Theater Horizon. 

Theatre Horizon is a local theater in Norristown run by a professional company that continues to fill Norristown with the arts. Having access to professional theater is such a privilege. The amount of love and care the team puts into each production is something that should be celebrated and their production of “Tick, Tick… Boom!” is no exception. 

“Tick, Tick… Boom!” is an autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, who is most known for his hit musical “Rent”. “Tick, Tick… Boom!” was written around the same time Larson was grasping at straws to become a hit and his inspiration for his later show, “Rent.” The show focuses on the internal struggles of growing up that not only Larson but everyday people feel throughout their lives. The main character Jon is turning 30 and feels as if he has nothing to show for it.  Throughout the musical, Jon has an internal battle on whether he should keep going with his dream or let it go and get a job that earns a salary. 

Robi Hager, who not only played Jon but also co-directed the show, really let all of his talents as an actor and musician shine through. His portrayal of Jon and the emotions he used to captivate the audience had me in tears. His chemistry with the other actors, Angel Sigala, who played Michael, and Elena Camp, who played Susan, was unmatched by any acting I have seen. They could have fooled anyone into thinking that they had been friends since the sandbox. I genuinely believed that Jon and Susan were in love and pulling apart. I could not get enough of their dynamic. All of the actors have strong crowdwork, pulling us in with a glance or simple gesture. 

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The cast consists of 3 actors and a band on stage. Sigala and Camp not only play their aforementioned characters but several of the side characters Jon meets in his life and interacts with every day such as a store owner, complaining customers, and his out-of-touch producer. Camp can completely transform her energy and aura for every character she plays. When Camp is Jon’s girlfriend Susan, she is graceful and timid, but when she plays Carissa, an actor Jon has a crush on, Camp is seductive and flirty, the opposite of Susan.  

Michael is Jon’s best friend and reveals to John a heartbreaking truth that changes Jon’s mindset and can be inferred as to why Larson wrote“Rent”. This revelation causes Jon to reevaluate everything he knows. Sigala and Hager’s emotions towards each other are raw and natural. During the talkback after the show, the actors expressed their deep connections to their characters.  They took their own life experiences and turned them into the characters I saw on stage. All the actors were able to take the characters they were given and turn them into their own. The entire production team and cast took the show and turned it into something completely new and unique to them. 

One aspect of the show that highlights the crew’s nonverbal storytelling is how Jon is almost always shown on or by the piano, subtly hinting at how important music is in his life. Everything he does revolves around music and his music career is always in the back of his mind. During the talkback, Hager spoke about how he was able to play this character so well because he writes and composes musicals. This let him take a more personal approach to the character. 

The show itself is a musical masterpiece that explores our common feelings of self-doubt and growing up and having nothing to show for it. This show is timeless and serves as a beacon of hope for those who feel alone or misunderstood. The idea of growing up and being scared out of your mind is something many can relate to. “Tick, Tick… Boom!” takes this idea and gives it light, this ugly emotion becomes something beautiful. 

If you have the chance I strongly recommend going to see this production. Shows are running from now until April 14th. Check out Theater Horizon for tickets.

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About the Contributor
Hope Rose Mauch
Hope Rose Mauch, Editor-in-Chief
Hope Rose Mauch, a junior at Norristown, has been writing for the Wingspan since their freshman year, and this is their second year as the editor-in-chief. Along with writing for the paper, Hope is a cheerleader for the school.

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