Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘Tick, Tick… Boom’ Netflix Musical: What We Know So Far

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tick tick boom netflix lin manuel miranda movie

Lin-Manuel Miranda & Tick Tick Boom logo – Picture: Getty Images

Lin-Manuel Miranda is in high demand and Netflix managed to scoop the Hamilton star for its own upcoming movie. Here’s everything you need to know so far about the musical biopic that’s likely due out on Netflix in 2021. 

The project was first announced by Netflix in June 2019 via the Media Center and referred to the movie as an acquisition.

Let’s start off with the TL:DR facts about the movie before we dive into the nitty-gritty:

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda will direct which will be his directorial debut and isn’t currently expect to star.
  • Biopic musical on playwright Jonathan Larson
  • Steven Levenson is adapting into the screenplay.
  • Not due out on Netflix until at least 2021.

Who’s behind Tick, Tick… Boom?

Netflix is of course bankrolling the project but Imagine Entertainment is behind the project. The company is run by Ron Howard and has had huge hits over the years including Rush, R.Edgard, Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code, Inside Man and many more.

You can find the official listing for Tick, Tick… Boom on the Imagine Entertainment site here.

They’re also the production house behind the upcoming Hillbilly Elegy movie (that is directed by Ron Howard himself) that’s due out in late 2020.

Steven Levenson is behind the screenplay adaptation of the original works. He’s most known for writing on FX’s Fosse/Verdon and Showtime’s Masters of Sex.

In January 2020, Theater Mania reported that Ryan Heffington is set to choreograph the movie. He’s most known for working on Sia’s Chandelier video.


What’s the musical about?

The official synopsis provided by Netflix is as follows:

“Set in 1990, Tick, Tick…Boom! tells the story of Jon, an aspiring theater composer who is waiting tables in New York City while writing Superbia – which he hopes will be the next great American musical and finally give him his big break. Jon is also feeling pressure from his girlfriend Susan, who is tired of continuing to put her life on hold for Jon’s career aspirations. Meanwhile, his best friend and roommate Michael, has given up on his creative aspirations for a high paying advertising job on Madison Avenue and is about to move out. As Jon approaches his 30th birthday, he is overcome with anxiety – wondering if his dream is worth the cost.”

Pictured. City Center Encores! production of Tick, Tick… Boom.

Who was Jonathan Larson?

American playwright and composer Jonathan Larson is most famous for his Tony Award-winning musical Rent. From an extremely young age, and growing up in Whitetail, New York, Larson was exposed to the performing arts. While growing up, he learned to play the trumpet, tuba, piano and would sing in the school’s choir. Larson would continue to be involved in performing arts throughout High School and eventually attended Adelphi University in Garden City, New York to take on a four-year-scholarship.

After spending a Summer in a theatre program in Michigan, Larson returned to New York and moved into a Lower Manhatten apartment. Throughout his time living in New York, Larson would work at the Moondance Diner on weekends, but was hard at work writing and composing music during the weekdays. Eventually, he would collaborate with fellow playwright Billy Aronson, who at the time had been looking to write an update to the musical La bohème.

Larson’s own life experience would seep onto the pages of the musical, which morphed into the Tony award-winning musical Rent. He spent years working on the project, collaborating and editing the musical as we know it today. In a tragic twist of fate, Jonathan never witnessed the musical in its first preview performance Off-Broadway, having died unexpectedly that morning. His death was caused by an aortic dissection, believed to be the cause of undiagnosed Marfan syndrome. The week before passing, Larson has been suffering from dizziness, chest pain and shortness of breath, and incorrect diagnosis of flu and stress was given by the doctors at Cabrini Medical Center and St. Vincent’s Hospital. Upon investigating, it is believed that had he been diagnosed correctly, and surgery been performed, Larson would have lived.

After Larson’s passing, the popularity of Rent skyrocketed. The playwright posthumously was awarded numerous awards for Rent, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and multiple Tony Awards including the Best Musical and Best Original Score.

Pictured. Jonathan Larson


Who is starring in Tick, Tick… Boom on Netflix?

As we mentioned above Lin-Manuel Miranda will direct (which will be his directorial debut) but isn’t currently expected to star.

The first big cast announcements came in November 2019 when it was revealed that Vanessa Hudgens and Robin de Jesus had been cast.

Bradley Whitford will star as Stephen Sondheim. NYTimes reporter Kyle Buchanan spoke to Lin-Manuel about the casting who said the following:

“The best part was emailing Steve to say ‘Bradley Whitford is playing you,’ and he replied, ‘I don’t know who that is, but he has a name like a Jane Austen character.’”

tick tick boom cast grid

In July 2020, we got word that Joanna Adler had joined the cast. She will play the role of Molly and has had roles in American Crime Story, The Sinner, and The Blacklist. Not to mention her stint on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black where she played Chaplain Royce.

Here’s the full cast list for Tick, Tick… Boom as of July 2020:

Actor/Actress Role
Vanessa Hudgens Karessa
Judith Light Rosa Stevens
Bradley Whitford Stephen Sondheim
Andrew Garfield Jon
Alexandra Shipp Susan
Jordan Fisher Simon
Joanna Adler Molly
Joshua Henry Roger
Robin de Jesus Michael
David Iacono Young Michael
Alex D. Jennings Lifeguard
Marie Rose Baramo Fly girl

When is Netflix filming Tick, Tick… Boom?

Pre-production began soon after the movie was announced with Lin-Manuel Miranda prepping for the movie as late as October 10th, 2019 when he teased he was working on the project.

On October 7th, 2019, we got a small glimpse of the script albeit most of it was blacked out.

The series was due to get underway with filming in the middle of February 2020 and although it’s definitely the case filming did start, it didn’t get too far until all productions were ordered to halt due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

The musical is set to be primarily filmed in New York itself, not a studio set up to look like New York. Lin-Manuel Miranda is no stranger to New York City having been born there plus having lived and even worked on Broadway.

The last recorded date of filming (according to Getty Images – so not the most reliable) was March 12, 2020. IMDb also has a trivia post that on the day the production was shut down, they were filming outside the former home of Jonathan Larson (again unverified).

Here’s a selection of the on-set photos for Tick, Tick… Boom.

As you can see from most of the pictures, a large portion of the movie is being filmed in Central Park hence how the paps managed to get the pictures.

That’s all we know for now. We’ll be updating this post as and when we get more information on the upcoming musical!

Let us know in the comments if you’re looking forward to Tick, Tick… Boom arriving on Netflix.

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