Explosive musical at the Egyptian | ParkRecord.com

Explosive musical at the Egyptian

The Dark Horse Company Theatre’s upcoming production of "tick tick BOOM!" is based on the life of Jonathan Larson, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning composer of the Broadway smash "Rent."

The story is about Jon, who is on the verge of celebrating his 30th birthday. He begins to think about his career choice, and in doing so, he finds himself experiencing a mini mid-life crisis.

Dark Horse Company Theatre artistic director/actor Daniel Simons said preparing for the role of Jon in the upcoming production of the rock musical "tick tick BOOM!" has been years in the making.

"A lot of my personal life and my career, outside of this particular show, has followed Jon’s lines exactly," he said. "You struggle to put up art, especially live theatre and it’s not easy by any means. Just that alone has prepared me to portray someone like Jon who did the same thing."

Simons said Larson’s work has been with him throughout significant events in his life.

"I was turning 18 at the time Jon was performing ‘tick tick BOOM!’ and, of course, I got into ‘Rent’ when I went into college," he said. "In fact, I used one of the songs from Rent to audition for my college scholarship at Weber State University."

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The time was right for Dark Horse to perform "tick tick BOOM!" because the Pioneer Theatre Company had scheduled to perform "Rent" in June, Simons said.

"We decided to support PTC’s production and do this show, which is about the person who wrote ‘Rent,’" Simons said. "It’s been on our list ever since we opened Dark Horse two years ago and it seemed like the perfect time."

Incidentally, Simons and his wife, Ginger Bess, have also been cast in the PTC production.

"We’re continuing the through-line of Jon’s artistry and philosophy," Simons said. "So we’re actually coming full circle."

Although "tick tick BOOM!" is considered a Dark Horse premiere, Simons and Bess, performed the show in Oregon five years ago. Even before that, Simons became fascinated with the production, which originated from a one-man show Larson was performing off-Broadway in New York cabarets and bars in the early 1990s.

"Jon came up with the idea before he wrote ‘Rent,’" Simons said. "It was basically a solo musical show he was doing, which led up to him writing ‘Rent.’"

Unfortunately, the night before "Rent" had its Broadway debut in 1996, Larson died from complications of an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm.

"He never got to experience, on a full scale, any of the works he created," Simons said.

After Larson’s death, his business partner David Auburn decided to create a full musical out of the concept of "tick tick BOOM!," Simons said.

"He got a group together to finish the show," he said. "They wrote the script and added two characters. It opened off-Broadway in 2001."

Simon said the musical is for anyone who has had to choose between dreams and stability.

"It’s not just for theatre people, writers and composers, it’s for everybody who finds themselves at that crossroads," he said. "Every day I face the choice of whether to continue or give it all up and get a desk job so I can support myself and my family. I’ve been facing that decision for 15 years every day."

Dark Horse Company Theatre will present "tick tick BOOM!" at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main Street, Fridays through Sundays, March 11-27. Fridays and Saturdays performances are at 8 p.m. and the Sundays performances are at 6 p.m. The performance is PG-13. Tickets are $18-$25 and available by calling (435)-649-9371 or visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com.