A scene from Tick Tick BOOM which is running at the Los Alamos County Performing Arts Center. Courtesy photo
The countdown is underway for “tick, tick… BOOM!” — the opening production in Los Alamos Little Theatre’s 2019-20 season.
The show runs Sept. 13-28 with performances at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Sept. 22, at the Los Alamos County Performing Arts Center, 1670 Nectar St.
Written by Jonathan Larson, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning author of “Rent”, the small-cast musical “tick, tick…BOOM!” follows an aspiring composer trying to make it on Broadway but beginning to question his life choices.
“This play is a hidden gem of a rock musical that I wanted Los Alamos to discover,” Director Tim Orcutt said.
He added that the play has not previously been performed in New Mexico.
“I think audiences will gain an appreciation for the author’s struggles on many fronts, and often this is where great art comes from,” Orcutt said. “Jonathan Larson made a choice to pursue his passion, regardless of the cost. I, like most people, took the practical route and put my family first. But we all sometimes wonder ‘…what if?’”
Christine Armenion, a newcomer to LALT, said, “I am a big fan of Jonathan Larson. After I saw the audition posting I binged the soundtrack and fell in love all over again with the way Larson writes and his musical style. The songs are amazing and to get to perform them which such an outstanding cast is really a dream!”
Set in 1990, the main character in “tick, tick…BOOM!” earns an income waiting tables while trying to interest Broadway’s movers and shakers in his musical. Meanwhile, his girlfriend wants to get married and move out of New York City and his best friend has found a lucrative job on Madison Avenue, providing contrasting visions of a future to his struggling artist schtick.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, of “Hamilton” fame, is directing a movie adaptation of “tick, tick… BOOM!” In an interview in New York Magazine he cited the musical as a piece of art that had fundamentally changed him: “[It] straight-up felt like a message in a bottle from Jonathan Larson from beyond the grave to me. Here’s this musical saying, ‘Hey, it was super hard. And these friends who say they’re all moving to New York with you? They’re not moving to New York with you. They’re going to get other jobs.’”
“I think we all feel a constant pressure to try and achieve our goals in a certain timeline, whether that be in a career or in relationships, and it can suck that spark of life out of you,” Armenion said. “I hope after watching this play audience members will remember the beauty in the journey and be inspired to go after their goals with the mindset that every failure leads to a success somewhere down the line.”
In addition to directing the musical Orcutt plays the lead character, Jon Armenion plays Susan, the girlfriend, and Patrick McDonald plays the successful friend Michael. Both Armenion and McDonald also play a variety of smaller roles to flesh out the story line, which originally was performed as a one-person show by Larson. Orcutt, who has an extensive theatre background, previously directed a production for LALT.
“There’s a great deal of trust in (LALT) and for the most part a director has free reign to do what he or she wants and has near-unlimited access to the theatre,” Orcutt said. “There’s also a terrific infrastructure that has allowed me access to top technical talent and help when I need it.”
“It feels really special to be a part of a community that takes pride in bringing art to life and I’m really happy I was given the opportunity to share in that passion,” Armenion said.
The play will be performed with a live band. The role of musical director is being shared between Brian Huysman and Nick Denissen. Other musicians include Yelena Mealy, Omar Wooten and David Rogers.
Tickets are available at Bliss Gift Emporium and CB FOX, online at Brown Paper Tickets, or at the door, $15 for general admission and $13 for seniors or students.
In November LALT will present “Dial M for Murder,” written by Frederick Knott and directed by Jim Sicilian. Audition dates are Sept. 15-16, and performances are Nov. 8-23.