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tick, tick...BOOM! Celebrates LGBTQ+ And The AIDS Crisis

'tick, tick…BOOM!', which is based on composer Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical musical, follows him for a few weeks in 1990 while writing what he hopes will be “the next great American musical.” Adapted by Steven Levenson and directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the film explores Larson’s relationships with his girlfriend Susan (Alexandra Shipp), shows the rehearsals of the musical he’s composing – Vanessa Hudgens and Joshua Henry play singers – and his day job waiting tables at a diner (Mj Rodriguez appears as a co-worker). However, where it pops most is in the Jonathan/Michael friendship. That feels apt, since Larson’s most famous work, Rent, famously included the stories of his queer friends, and most of them were living with HIV/AIDS, like Michael in tick, tick…BOOM. tick, tick…BOOM! takes place in New York during the height of the AIDS epidemic. It was shot in the city in 2020, post covid, pre-vaccine. Miranda called that similarity in circumstances “the weird echoes of 1990 and 2020.” Ben Levi Ross who plays another of Larson’s queer friends talked of another echo saying, “My character, Freddie, is HIV positive. It was a really full-circle moment living in this pandemic, being a 23-year-old queer actor in New York City.”