tick, tick… BOOM!’s Christian Campbell

Based on the life of Jonathan Larson, the idealistic composer behind the Broadway hit Rent, tick, tick… BOOM! is a poignant yet lighthearted production on how aspirations—no matter how far-fetched they might seem—keep us alive. We sit down with Christian Campbell, who plays the pivotal role of Larson for a lowdown on the show.
Tell us more about the role of Jonathan Larson in the musical.
Jonathon Larson was a young composer in New York looking to create a Broadway musical with a sound and style that better represented contemporary times. He was determined and resolute that it could be done and it was only after his death that his musical Rent proved his lifelong ambition.
OK, what are some of the crazy things he has done to achieve his dream?
He lived a life of poverty in New York. He was taking whatever jobs he could to survive and leading the typical “starving artist” life.
tick, tick… BOOM! has been performed in Broadway, London and Los Angeles. What is your most unforgettable moment on stage when playing the role of Larson?
We opened two days after the London bombings in 2005, and the show and Larson’s lyrics became even more meaningful for me.
Which scene in the musical do you like best?
The final song of the show “Louder than Words” is a song that to this day, gives me chills when we sing it. Its words and meaning strike a chord in me and have a prophetic relevance to the world we live in today.
Is this musical personally relevant to you in any way?
Every artist struggles often with choosing to pursue the life of an artist, as it is, more often than not, a life of struggle, with little money and constant self examination. I’ve lived the “starving artist life,” and although I am now relatively successful, I still question whether I should have pursued a career where I would have more stability even if I may not be as fulfilled.
What is one message you hope the audience will take home?
Follow your bliss. It’s not results, such as the acquisition of money, material objects or power that matter. It is the effort that matters. Our efforts are the sum total of our entire existence. The effort is our life.