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Second Stage’s ‘Tick, tick …’ rocks and rolls at the crossroads of dreams

7:51:49 AM CDT - Thursday, September 21, 2006

By Shannon Littlejohn

Bringing "Tick, tick…BOOM!" to Second Stage has come with a lot less anxiety than the lead character experiences as he prepares to turn 30.

That's because the musical's director, WSU theater student Casey Ross, has been living with the play since he submitted it last year to the School of Performing Arts as a potential Second Stage project. Now, with a small cast of excellent students excited about the story and music, he's confident that they'll pull off a good run.

"We have to apply a year in advance if we want to direct," said Ross, who also got to choose the play. "It's definitely a different side of the world from acting. I never realized how easy it is to be an actor until I sat down in that director's chair."

On the other hand, he said, the actors are so good at what they do that they've made it easy for him. Jordon Love, Cassandra Nuss and Alex Stoll form the ensemble cast, which will be accompanied in one scene by a four-piece combo.

"Tick, tick … BOOM!" opened Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex and will run through Sunday, Sept. 24. It features our hero, Jon, who is about to turn 30; his girlfriend, Susan, who wants to get married and leave the city behind; and his friend Michael, who is moving ahead with a new BMW and a better residence uptown. Jon waits tables, goes home to a grungy little apartment at the edge of Soho and tries mightily to write brilliant musicals.

It's the play formerly known as "30/90," a one-act, one-character autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, who had turned 30 in 1990 and was contemplating his own direction in life. Then he created "Rent," the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical whose success on Broadway Larson never enjoyed. He died of an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm in 1996, three days before the review performances of "Rent" at the New York Theatre Workshop and 10 days before he turned 36.

"Tick, tick...BOOM!" is the first full staging of "30/90," which was rearranged to accommodate three performers instead of one. David Auburn, whose play "Proof" is a Pulitzer winner, was asked to be a script consultant, or editor, and work with Larson's material. Reviewers have compared the play both favorably and unfavorably to "Rent," but many believe the musical stands on its own.

"Tick, tick...BOOM!" is rated R.

Second Stage’s "Tick, tick … BOOM!" is running from Wednesday, Sept. 20, through the weekend with 7:30 p.m. performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and matinee performances at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, and Sunday, Sept. 24, at the Welsbacher Theatre in the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex, 5015 E. 29th St. N. General admission is $10 with discounts available. Tickets are available through the College of Fine Arts Box Office, 978-3233, or at the venue one hour before each performance.



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