I have a Renthead bucket list. I was fourteen the first time I heard Rent, and it (stereotypically) changed my life. Not only did I adopt the “No Day But Today” philosophy of life, but I started being an activist, eventually volunteering for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. I still do when I’m in the area and there’s something going on.
I was always attached to Jonathan Larson specifically. I was heartbroken by his story. He was a struggling playwright, and Rent was his big break. He died the night before it opened. This man had such a huge impact on not just my life, but so many lives, and the entire idea of what a musical could look like.
His show, Tick, Tick… BOOM, was written several years before he had even considered Rent. The show is an autobiographical tale of turning thirty and the fears that go along with it. It shows Jonathan Larson’s fear of never achieving greatness. The soundtrack, from the 2001 Off-Broadway production featuring Raul Esparza, breaks my heart every time I listen to it. One thing I thought I’d never get to cross off my bucket list though, was actually seeing a production. Well, it happened. And it was spectacular.