“Jonathan Larson is the composer who made me want to write”, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda told The Queer Review earlier this week at the New York premiere of his feature directorial debut tick, tick…BOOM! The film is an adaptation of the autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, who revolutionsed musical theatre as the creator of Rent. “Jonathan was such a good ally”, Robin de Jesús who stars opposite Andrew Garfield in the film told us, “He wrote such great roles for Black and brown and queer folks and those jobs have an economic ripple effect. Black and brown and queer folks were able to buy houses and to have babies because of that. He keeps giving.”
Reflecting the power of Larson’s work to continue inspire a new generation, 25 years after his untimely death, and honouring the legacy of the beloved American composer and playwright, Netflix is shining a spotlight on emerging teen performers and filmmakers from performing arts public high schools in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, and one youth theater in New York. The young artists have conceived and produced their own unique rendition of Larson’s Louder than Words from tick, tick,..BOOM! The student-led productions resulted in a music video, introduced by Lin-Manuel Miranda, to celebrate the film’s global launch on Netflix today, Friday November 19th.
“I got my start in my school’s performing arts program”, says Miranda in his introduction. “These programs are vital, not only to the entertainment industry, but to our culture. It’s important for us to celebrate the next generation of actors, singers, and performers. So in the spirit of reaching for the stars and pursuing your dreams, we invited schools across the country to celebrate the debut of tick, tick…BOOM! on Netflix.”
The four participating public high schools are Baltimore School for the Arts in Baltimore, Maryland (BSFA), Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas (BTWHPVA), The Chicago School for the Arts in Chicago, Illinois (ChiArts), and Los Angeles County High School for the Arts in Los Angeles, California (LACHSA), and the non-profit TADA! Youth Theater in New York, New York.
“Netflix presented our students and faculty an opportunity to collaborate on a project that was not only meaningful to our students’ personal lives, but an opportunity to improve their skills in the other areas of artistic expression, including acting, singing and cinematic arts”, comments Lois Hunter, LACHSA Theatre Department Chair.
“It was so great to be able to be in the theatre again, live, rehearsing such a powerful song”, adds Janine Nina Trevens, Executive and Producing Artistic Director for TADA! Youth Theater, “and to have our teen performers see the connection between what’s happening today in the world and what they want and a song that was written almost 30 years ago by Jonathan Larson.”
“This is a story about perseverance and the risks we take as artists”, says Tina Boyer Brown, Artistic Director at ChiArts. “ChiArts cultivates a safe space for students to create and explore. Our students were excited to dive into the rehearsal and filming process for this project and their hard work and commitment to excellence shows in the results.”
Watch the full music video:
Following the New York premiere screening of tick, tick…BOOM! at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, an emotional Lin-Manual Miranda and Andrew Garfield introduced a special performance of Larson’s work by the Grammy-nominated Broadway Inspirational Voices led by artistic director Allen René Louis, who spoke with The Queer Review earlier that night on the red carpet.
Watch the full performance by Broadway Inspirational Voices at the tick, tick…BOOM! premiere below: