'Tick, Tick...Boom!' Hype Has People Questioning How Jonathan Larson Died

Jonathan Larson, who is the subject of 'Tick, Tick...Boom!', died at a young age, and many want to know exactly how the composer died.


Oct. 5 2021, Published 11:34 a.m. ET

Rent is already a legendary musical, but now, the man who composed it is about to become a little more well-known. Jonathan Larson, the man behind Rent, is also the subject of Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda's directorial debut, Tick, Tick...Boom!. The movie follows a version of Larson as he struggles to make ends meet and works on a wide variety of musical theater projects. Now that the movie is just a few months away, many want to know more about Jonathan.

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What is 'Tick, Tick...Boom!' about?

Tick, Tick...Boom! is actually another musical written by Jonathan, although this one is more directly autobiographical. The musical tells the story of Jon, a composer who has yet to find his big break and is beginning to doubt whether he actually belongs in the world of performing arts. In the movie, Jon is played by Andrew Garfield, and seems to be on the cusp of debuting Rent to the world.

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How did Jonathan Larson die?

After writing Tick, Tick...Boom! and Rent, but before Rent debuted to the acclaim it would go on to receive, Jonathan died at the age of 35. It was January 25, 1996, the same day that Rent's first Off-Broadway performance was scheduled. After his death, it was discovered that he had suffered an aortic dissection which was caused by Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body's connective capabilities.

In the days leading up to his death, Jonathan had been suffering from shortness of breath, severe chest pains and dizziness, but when he went to the hospital, doctors could not find any signs of an aortic aneurysm, and therefore misdiagnosed his condition as stress-related or a bout of the flu. New York State medical investigators determined that if his aortic dissection had been properly diagnosed and treated, Jonathan would have survived.

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Jonathan was awarded posthumously for 'Rent'.

Jonathan didn't get to live to see the success that his show turned into, but he won three Tony Awards posthumously for the show, and was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Now, Tick, Tick...Boom! is redefining his legacy once more, as a much broader audience will come to understand and hopefully appreciate his story, and the way he attempted to tell it himself.

Source: YouTube
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Who were Jonathan Larson's parents?

Jonathan was born in to Nanette and Allan Larson in White Plains, New York. He had one sister, named Julie, and was exposed to the performing arts from a relatively young age. He picked up the trumpet at a young age, and also performed in a number of musicals. Although Tick, Tick...Boom! will primarily focus on Jonathan's life as an adult, it will undoubtedly be informed by his childhood.

Thus far, Netflix has released two trailers for the movie as well as one song that was written for the production. Based on that recording, it's clear that Andrew Garfield can sing, and we already know that he can act. Tick, Tick...Boom! is certainly a project with plenty of potential to revitalize Jonathan's legacy, but only time will tell whether it pays off.

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