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tick, tick… BOOM!: Everything you need to know about the music of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s latest film

The autobiographical musical by Rent creator Jonathan Larson has been adapted into a film by Lin-Manuel Miranda starring Andrew Garfield... but what can we expect from the music?


Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his feature directorial debut in tick… tick… BOOM!, a film adaptation of the semi-autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, who created the musical Rent.


Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man behind Hamilton and In the Heights, is having a particularly busy year, having recently released Vivo, the Netflix animated musical comedy, which featured his original songs and which he executive produced and starred in. In the Heights was also recently adapted into a film.

Find out more about the Broadway composer Lin-Manuel Miranda and the shows he has written here.

What’s the film about?

tick, tick… BOOM! follows the life of Jon (Jonathan Larson) as he waits tables and showcases his work as a young theatre composer. The film is set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic, which is ravaging New York City.

In July 2018, it was announced that Lin-Manuel Miranda would direct tick… tick… BOOM!, for subsequent Netflix distribution. Production was expected to start in late 2019, but was delayed until March 2020.

How the musical version of tick, tick… BOOM! came to be

Jonathan Larson first created the autobiographical musical as a solo work, with the working title Boho Days. It was referred to as a ‘rock monologue’, but underwent revisions and development after Larson’s death in 1996 and was rewritten for three actors.

The musical sees Jon approaching his 30th birthday. As an aspiring composer, he is questioning his career choice to work in performing arts as those around him are following different paths. His childhood friend Michael gave up acting for a more lucrative job, and is pressuring him to go on a different path. The third character featured in the adapted musical is Susan, Jon’s girlfriend, who is a dancer teaching ‘wealthy but untalented’ children in New York.

There are a few musical references to the music of Stephen Sondheim, who is considered to be one of Larson’s major influences. Listen out for the song ‘Sunday’, which is written in homage to Sondheim’s musical Sunday in the Park with George, and ‘Why’, which uses the same tritone featured in ‘Maria’ from West Side Story, which Sondheim worked on as lyricist.

Sondheim will be brought to life in the film by Bradley Whitford.

tick, tick… BOOM! cast

Unlike the musical, which has a cast of just three actors, the film will feature a larger cast of characters.

Andrew Garfield: Jonathan Larson
Vanessa Hudgens: Karessa Johnson
Alexandra Shipp: Susan
Robin de Jesús: Michael
Joshua Henry: Roger
Judith Light: Rosa Stevens
Bradley Whitford: Stephen Sondheim
Joanna P Adler: Molly
Noah Robbins: Simon
Ben Levi Ross: Freddy

Who wrote the soundtrack to tick, tick… BOOM!?

The film tick, tick… BOOM! is based on an autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson himself, who wrote the songs and score which are used in the film.

Unfortunately, there have been no cast recordings of the musical, so you’ll have to wait until the film comes out to see what it’s like…

Find out more about the soundtracks to other TV programmes and films here.

Where can you stream the soundtrack to tick, tick… BOOM!?

The soundtrack to tick, tick… BOOM! is not yet available on streaming platforms.

Can you buy the soundtrack to tick, tick… BOOM!?

The soundtrack to tick, tick… BOOM! is not yet available to buy, but we will update you if and when it becomes available.

Where can you watch tick, tick… BOOM! online?

tick, tick… BOOM! will be released in UK cinemas from 12 November and on Netflix from 19 November.


While you’re on Netflix, why not check out some of the music-themed films we recommend on Netflix?

Watch the trailer for tick, tick… BOOM!