You know about Rent, and you know about Tick, Tick….Boom!, but how much do you know about Jonathan Larson’s first musical: Superbia.
Before there was the musical Rent from Jonathan Larson, there was Tick, Tick… Boom! Before the recent Tick adaptation from Lin-Manuel Miranda (with brilliant performances from Andrew Garfield and Robin de Jesús, among others), I assumed that was all there was. I’d seen Rent a million times. But, of course, I missed the original cast with favorites like Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs, Anthony Rapp, and Jesse L Martin. And I caught an off-Broadway performance of Tick in the mid-2000s, but somehow, I missed the fact that there was a musical that preceded both called Superbia.
Now, if you’ve seen any incarnation of Tick, Tick…Boom! you have heard about Superbia. So why am I so shocked Jonathan Larson’s musical actually existed? Maybe because, at one point, it involved actors wearing TVs on their heads, or perhaps because while Stephen Sondheim liked it, no one else did; or maybe it was because there were SO many iterations of the musical. But for whatever reason, I missed the fact that it was a real, staged play. When I saw Tick, I thought it was just a plot device. But when Miranda’s Tick, Tick…Boom! premiered on Netflix, I started digging and learned all about Jonathan Larson’s struggle with his first big musical production. But, of course, my research paled compared to the incredibly comprehensive history in the video below.
If you’re a musical theater nerd or appreciate the almost-Shakespearean story of Jonathan Larson’s short life, you need to carve out some time and watch: