Facebook Depression and Proper Motivation

by Lenise Willis

The fear that your friends are doing better than you is certainly something most of us can relate to, especially now thanks to Facebook and its notorious flood of perky proposal posts and baby pics. And that’s the same feeling that playwright Jonathon Larson, the genius creator of Rent, used to relate to his audience in Tick, Tick, Boom. He himself thought he was behind the curve just before he hit it big.

The autobiographical rock musical tells of the composer’s life in 1990, as he waited tables and struggled to write the next big Broadway hit. Meanwhile, his best friend is making a fortune, making the sting even worse.

“The show is a celebration of life and a wake-up call to make a difference with the time and talents you’ve been given,” said Jamie Lawson, director of Theatre Alliance’s upcoming production of the musical.

In the play, Jon, the lead character, is struggling to succeed and unsure if he’s made the right life choices by pursuing his artistic dreams. “Most artists can relate to it,” Lawson continued. “Most humans can relate to it, even if their dreams are not of an artistic nature. By the age of 30, are many of us where we thought we would be in life?” Besides being incredibly relatable, the musical is also packed with rock numbers, “full of angst, sprinkled with humor and infused with passion,” according to David Joy, who will star as Jon. “No musical theatre singing here. It pushes me to hit my limits and go for that rock sound.”

“I love the music in Rent, so I suspected I would love the music from Tick, Tick, Boom, as well.” Lawson added. “Truth is I like it even more.”

The show is comprised of 14 songs, 10 characters, only three actors and a live band.

“I enjoy intimate shows, and this is one of those,” Lawson said.

“You’re able to dive into the characters more with fewer of them.

That doesn’t happen often with musicals.”

Of course, that also means it’s much more exhausting for the cast, who must switch back and forth, assuming quickly changing roles.

“I am extremely proud of this cast,” Lawson said. “They’re very dedicated and have worked hard. One-to-four person shows are very hard to learn and to perform, as the actors are constantly on. It’s a lot to remember and exhausting to perform.”

It’s a lot of work getting into character, too. When asked if he himself is where he thought he’d be and if he would have done anything differently, Joy said, “That’s a loaded question and would take hours and a big bottle of something. Basically, no and almost everything.”

Though with that being said, he says he hasn’t fallen victim to Facebook envy. “I remember looking at my friends and thinking, ‘Thank God I’m not married and don’t have kids,'” he laughed. “Besides that, I try just to be happy for my friends. We all have a different path””n one better or worse than the other. You have to embrace the ‘everything is perfect as it is’ mentality.”

“We all have regrets,” he said. “We all want for more. We all doubt our decisions. That is what this story is about. But you have to acknowledge your fear and move on.”

Besides being a rock-hard musical with laughs, the play also calls for a bit of personal reflection.

“I love the message this one has,” Lawson said. “Most of us have an anxiety about ‘Why am I here? What is my purpose?'” “One thing I’ve learned is that life is full of uncertainties and our plans careen off track in an instant,” Lawson continued. “The trick to it is to stay flexible, be nice to everyone (because they may be saving your life some day), and keep your dreams alive. Even if you don’t live out your dreams the way they played out in your mind in your youth, there is much happiness to be found to still be shooting for them at the age of 44. Or 65. Or 90.” !


Tick, Tick, Boom runs Wednesday through Sunday at Theatre Alliance, 1047 Northwest Blvd., Winston-Salem. Tickets are $18. For tickets and more information visit or call 723-7777.