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What the Cast of “Tick, Tick… Boom!” and Jonathan Larson Have in Common

What the Cast of “Tick, Tick… Boom!” and Jonathan Larson Have in Common

The “Tick, Tick… Boom!” cast and Jonathan Larson share similar sentiments

 

 

Have you ever felt like you were running out of time? As if all your hopes and dreams suddenly had an expiration date, and you’re nowhere near reaching them? Well, Tick, Tick… Boom! is an off-Broadway musical that tells that very tale, only it isn’t just a story, but the autobiography of the playwright himself—Jonathan Larson (yes, the same guy who wrote Rent). 

 

As Jonathan takes us on a journey to witness Jon (his character in the play) turn 30, we watch his existential crisis eat him alive. Without a stable career and his play barely getting off the ground, he’s at the crossroads of choosing between pursuing his passion or dropping it all for the sake of practicality. Now if this isn't the anthem of every late 20-something starving artist out there, then we don’t know what is!  

 

With Tick, Tick… Boom!’s recent Netflix adaptation starring Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp and Vanessa Hudgens, Filipino fans can now get a taste of the theater experience as it comes to life on the RCBC Plaza stage! Starring Khalil Ramos, Jef Flores, Reb Atadero, Vien King, Kayla Rivera and Tanya Manalang, the ultra-talented cast brings the story of hope and dreams to life. As passionate artists themselves, getting into the headspace for the story was just like looking into their own experiences as actors in the industry.

 

RELATED: Sandbox Fest 2023: “Lungs” and “Every Brilliant Thing” Asks, Are We Ever Too Young To Ponder About Life?

 

What the Cast of “Tick, Tick... Boom!” and Jonathan Larson Have in Common

The “Tick, Tick… Boom!” cast’s encore number on preview night
Photo by Kathyleen Rivera

 

Kayla Rivera

As Susan

 

In many ways, the cast finds themselves relating to the story of Jon. Kayla Rivera shares that as an artist, what throws her off guard the most is the uncertainty of her job. “As an artist, yes, you have work today, but you don’t know when your next work will be…The struggle is real, and it’s constant,” she says. But as this uncertainty ushers in doubts and fears, she looks at the story of Jonathan with hope. “Jonathan reaches so many ends of the road, he meets so many friends who are trying to pull him this way or that way, but he stuck with it and, in the end, he came up with genius works like Tick, Tick… Boom! and Rent.” So despite the uncertainty, passion and determination remain vital parts of what inspired Jonathan to keep pushing forward, which is what Kayla holds onto in her journey as an artist, too. “This road may be harder, but in the end, it’ll always be worth it.

 

 

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Tanya Manalang

As Susan

 

Tanya Manalang similarly finds herself drawn to the story of Jonathan. “It’s nice to watch and absorb material that you can relate to, but it’s not very often that you’re able to be part of ones and be able to share that message,” she shares. Echoing the battle between choosing passion over practicality, she says that it’s always been her dream to perform. “Every time I’m almost ready to give up, there’s just something in me that says, ‘This is something you’ve always wanted to do ever since you were a kid, and now that you have the opportunity, you’re not going to do it?’” So as the story goes, passion always makes its way back into the center of it all, and Tanya wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

 

 

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Khalil Ramos

As Jon

 

With this production of Tick, Tick… Boom! being Khalil Ramos’ theater debut, he shares his deep connection with his character, Jon, in the play. “Practicality versus passion was something I was cornered to during the pandemic.” He shares how everyone was forced to choose practicality during those times, as making a living was the means for survival during the peak of COVID-19. Khalil admits, “I was really brought to the point where I kept choosing practicality. I thought my passion was slipping away. And it was early on this year when I asked myself if this is the one thing that I will do for the rest of my life, which is acting.” Luckily for us, Khalil shares that this was a “clear decision” for him and that acting was definitely his one true calling. He shares that all artists go through a point where choosing between the two becomes necessary, and this decision never stops. But the act of repeatedly choosing this path for yourself makes all the difference.

 

 

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RELATED: Dead Kids’ Gabby Padilla and Khalil Ramos on Their Hard Reset 

 

Jef Flores

As Jon

 

Jef Flores finds many points in his life that cross with Jonathan. From playing the piano at a young age to investing his time in music growing up, he was well on his way to becoming a music genius. But Jef shares that upon entering college, things took a different turn. “When I got to college, I kind of gave [music] up. I decided to take up Business or maybe Biology; maybe I’ll be a doctor. Basta, I was going to do something that [makes] a lot of money.” In the hopes of pursuing practicality, Jef took his shot at a world without performing, but he discovered that this wasn’t the life he wanted. So after dropping out of college and coming to the Philippines to pursue acting, he is proud to say that he’s still in the industry today.

 

Choosing to pursue your passion comes with a price, but as someone passionate about his craft, he shares a realization that has changed how he’s viewed his career in acting forever. “I go to a Christmas [gathering], and my family will realize that I don’t have a degree…and I don’t know what to say to them. I know that they want the best for me, but I would die without [acting], and their thought of me is that I will die with this because it’s a starving artist’s life. There’s no money, you won’t eat, you’ll starve, and you’ll die. Well, we all have to choose a way to die, and this is mine.”

 

 

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Reb Atadero

As Michael

 

As a theater actor for almost all his life, Reb Atadero has been on stage for 17 years. He shares that he used to be just like Jon as he went through a phase of thinking, “I don’t need to get paid. I just want to do this!” However, as soon as he encountered his first bill, his rose-tinted glasses immediately shattered. So from a life on stage, he soon had to take his acts to kiddie birthday parties to make a living. He admits, “I’ve had those compromises, and at the same time, I had to give it up at certain parts of my life. I had to pay bills and be a productive member of society.” 

 

Turning 31 certainly added to the pressure. Reb stresses his point that “The moment you go over a certain age and people are starting to look at you as an adult, and at the same time you’re too young to be old and too old to be young, that’s when it gets so weird like you’re running out of time.” But as the pattern has proven unbreakable, his passion never left his side. “For some reason, it always finds a way back into my life, even with the plague. After those three years, it still found its way back.” So despite the pressure of turning a certain age and feeling like time isn’t on his side, Reb’s love for acting (and incredible tolerance for anxiety) still holds him together. After all, “Anxiety is his jam!”

 

 

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Vien King

As Michael

 

Vien King finds Jonathan as an inspiration in his journey with acting. When asked by his mother how long he plans to continue acting, he had to choose the route of practicality and find a way to make it in the corporate world. “I [don't] come from a well-off family,” he shares, “I had lots of responsibilities and all of that, but [acting] is my passion.” Eventually, instead of climbing the corporate ladder, Vien began pursuing his acting career while working on gigs and events whenever he could to make the most of his time and earn a living. Much like Reb, Vien had to find a way to sustain his career, and his side hustles paved the way for him to reap the fruits of his labor today while being able to provide for his family as well. After almost 10 years in the industry, Vien shares that it is indeed a “blessing” that he’s still here. He hopes to bring the story of his life with him into the show to breathe life into his character and the essence of what being an artist is all about.

 

 

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With their hearts tied so close to the essence of what Tick, Tick… Boom! is all about, the cast’s performance is nothing short of breathtaking as they share the story of their very own lives on stage. Catch their performance at the RCBC Plaza on the weekends from August 5 to August 27, 2023. Each show ushers in a new experience for its viewers as cast members rotate for a fresh and exciting dynamic every night, so book a show date or two! See you at the theater!

 

Visit Ticket2me to purchase your tickets or contact the show buyers on the poster.

 

 

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Words Vanessa Tiong

Art Matthew Ian Fetalver

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