Outré Theater Company is currently presenting Jonathan Larson’s "Tick, Tick...BOOM!" at Mizner Park in Boca Raton.
This show began life as an autobiographical rock monologue that was originally performed by the composer. It was written prior to his most famous work "Rent." After Larson’s untimely death in 1996 from undiagnosed Marfan Syndrome, "Tick, Tick...BOOM!" was reconfigured as a full length, three-actor stage musical. This version of the show ran for seven months off-Broadway before embarking on a national tour.
The tragedy of Jonathan Larson is that his talented life was cut so short. There are other unproduced works by Larson donated by his estate to the Library of Congress, but it is "Rent" and "Tick, Tick...BOOM!" that represent him to the theater going public and remain his legacy.
If you are a fan of "Rent," you will like "Tick, Tick...BOOM!," which could be classified as "Rent-lite." As a musical, it is somewhat pretentious and self absorbed, but contains engaging songs.
The thing that makes Outré’s production of this musical worth seeing is the performance of Mike Westrich in the leading role of Johnny. Westrich engages the audience from the moment he steps on to the stage and gives a 90-minute powerhouse performance in which he switches from rock and roll numbers to ballads and back again with ease. His performance is the reason the show works.
The two other roles in the production are adequately played by Sabrina Lynn Gore and Jerel Brown, but their performances are completely eclipsed by Westrich.
Nori Tecosky’s set design was colorful and vibrant and, combined with the costumes by Sharyn Peoples, managed to convey an abstract version of New York City circa 1990. The lighting design by Stefanie Howard was problematic throughout the evening, with actors often performing with inadequate illumination and occasional moments of distracting illumination of the audience rather than the stage.
This production overall is an enjoyable piece of modern musical theater. You won’t walk out humming the tunes, but Westrich’s performance is reason enough to see the show.