Theater Review : 9WorksTheatrical' Tick..Tick... Boom


The struggle is real when you are about to hit 30s. It is the time when you have to clear your mind and decide which path are you really going to take.  It is no longer a trial and error phase where you can shift from one career to another without thinking of their possible consequences.  By this time, you must take everything seriously because anything you do can become a life changing moment.

Yes, with all the struggles and obstacles you could possibly encounter during your 30s, how we wish we could stop the aging process and remain young forever. Unfortunately my friend, this is life and there is no such thing as “Pause” nor a “Rewind” button to fix things up but hey, it is not a bad thing at all! You can never tell the kind of surprises that life has to offer beyond 30s.

A sweet moment of Susan and Jon
If you are having the same sentiment or dilemma right now  or if you are about to hit your 30s yet still uncertain with your career, then you might find yourself in the same situation of Jon, an aspiring composer who is worried whether he will choose his passion over a stable career or vice versa. Yes, we are referring to the highly acclaimed Musical “Tick, Tick… BOOM!” by no other done Jonathan Larson, the creative mind behind the highly successful Rent Musical. It is actually an autobiographical musical that follows the story of Jonathan and how much he struggled to follow his passion and build his career! Interestingly, Tick Tick Boom is a three man piece so it is basically not about visually stunning productions or anything about humogous musical dance numbers that we commonly see in most musicals but you will be surprised how this simple production with very limited cast can turn into an amazing and highly entertaining piece!

A best friend always be a best friend
It is very interesting to note that this musical will be revived in a larger Off-Broadway theater in the US this October but you we do not have to go that far because Tick Tick Boom! is set to conquer Manila this month! It will be staged by 9Works Theatrical who recently brought us musicals like American Idiots and 50 Shades. Now, in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Rent Musical, 9Works Theater will pay homage to this iconic musical by bringing Larson’s Tick Tick Boom back on stage. The characters Jon, Michael and Susan will be portrayed by Jef Flores, Ariel Reonal and Tanya Manalang respectively. Jef Flores was recently awarded by Gawad Buhay for Male Lead Performance in a Play for This is Our Youth (Red Turnip) while Ariel Reonal and Tanya Manalang were both fresh from their two year journey in London as part of the West End Production of Miss Saigon where Tanya played as Kim and Ariel as Assistant Commissar.  The Tick Tick Boom will be staged under the direction of Mr Robbie Guevara.


This play actually made me realized that sometimes, we do not need those visually engaging production numbers just to capture the heart of the audience. The combination of talented casts and heartfully written songs are actually surprisingly good enough to give you such entertaining experience. If you have watched Rent (whether the Broadway musical or the even just the movie adaptation) then you will notice that this play has the same vibes and approach and it is not really surprising because this is another Jonathan Larson’s masterpiece. Since Tick Tick Boom will tell you the story behind the musical phenomenon Rent, you can clearly see where the characters from Rent were inspired from. At some point I can see Mark Cohen’s character through Jon while Michael’s fate reminds me of the one of the Rent’s main theme which is about HIV and AIDS and how the characters deal with it.


Jef Flores, Ariel Reonal and Tanya Manalang delivered superb performances. Tanya and Ariel, despite of their quick character changes managed to give justice to their respective roles while Jef Flores was such a revelation. Most parts of the show are very comical and will give you a great laugh mainly because of Jon’s witty character but as soon as he realized the kind of situation he was in and how difficult it is for him to let go of his passion and focus on a much more stable career , that’s where the heartbreaking scenes will emerge. Not to mention that Jon was really in great despair after Susan (Tanya Manalang) left him due to their contrasting beliefs and after his best friend Michael (Ariel Reonal) confessed that he is positive for HIV.  The song “Why” summarizes Jon’s devastation. Speaking of songs, I personally like all the musical numbers in the show. They are all catchy and the melodies are something you cannot easily forget.  30/90 and Why are both of my personal favorites but Sugar and Sunday were undeniably catchy and witty!


What Did I Learn from Tick Tick Boom? 



The show taught me that success is not really defined based on your wealth or how much your material possessions are whether it is big and spacious house or a brand new BMW.  Success is defined on how happy you are in life by doing the things you love, things you are truly passionate about. Jon’s struggles and success were such great inspiration to many especially for those who are now in their 30s yet still in doubt whether they will pursue their passion or forced themselves to pick a more stable career. It also made me realized how words of encouragement can make a huge difference in someone else’s life much like what Michael did to Jon during his darkest hours. And most of all, the show taught me not to lose hope that despite of many trials and in the midst of seemingly inescapable challenges or behind those seemingly endless rejections, you must never ever give up because you’ll know that all your sacrifices and hard work will soon pay off.


9Works Theatrical’s Tick Tick BOOM! will have a limited run starting October 1 til October 23 at the RCBC Plaza, Makati City. For TICKets contact 0917-5545560, 586-7105, TICKetworld at 891-9999 or email info@9workstheatrical.com

More photos at the AXLPowerhouse

Star Powerhouse Originals

Review and photos by : Milton Coyne
Edited by : Axl Guinto

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