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Jonathan Larson

Anthony Rapp’s Solo Show, “Without You,” To Get Off-Broadway Run

November 16, 2022

I think this is great news. I’m happy the show will finally be getting a full theatrical production in New York.  I saw the original festival-production tryout of "Without You" about a dozen years ago and found it to be the most affecting and meaningful solo show that I'd seen in years. I’d previously felt the same way about Rapp's book, "Without You"—it was the most absorbing showbiz memoir I'd come across in years; I bought copies of that book to give friends as presents. [more]

On the Town with Chip Deffaa: “Rent” at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts: An Appreciation

April 7, 2022

This production was an ensemble success—which is what Jonathan Larson was hoping to achieve—so I’d like to mention every member of the company.   Not just the leads, whom I very much enjoyed  (Logan Spaleta,  Brendan Dugan,  Lily Resto-Solano as an appealingly amiable “Mimi Marquez,” Justin Nicot as the insouciant “Angel Dumont Schunard,” Monica Malas making the most of  the role of “Maureen Johnson,” Tsehai Marson as her frustrated girlfriend “Joanne Jefferson,”  Luke Studley Roberts as “Tom Collins” (who falls for “Angel”), and Matthew Macneal as landlord “Benjamin Coffin III”), but every member of the ensemble: Olivia Summer, Nicholas Martell, Miekayla Pierre, Ben Gluck, Sophia Longmuir, Gabriel Paredes, Isaac Wilson, Isabella Soleil Smith, Daniel Stowe, Jaiden Torres, Monica Malas, Ellistair Perry, Zune Misrra-Stone. [more]

ON THE TOWN… with Chip Deffaa …. October 28nd, 2018

October 28, 2018

The generous spirit of Jonathan Larson (1960-1996) certainly was felt in New York's great supper club, Feinstein's/54 Below, the night I went to see The Jonathan Larson Project (which filled the club for a dozen performances in six nights, with different guest-stars each night). It did my soul good to be there. [more]

ON THE TOWN WITH CHIP DEFFAA… for Aug 3rd, 2018

August 4, 2018

Thanks to the Internet, word tends to get around very quickly about what is being done in theatres everywhere-even in college theatres. Cohen told me, for example, that students at Towson University mounted a production of "Rent" with an unauthorized changed ending; in their revision of "Rent," the character of "Mimi" died at the end. Cohen reflected: "Theatre is sort of self-monitoring. Fans of musical theatre are so passionate that when they see that a show has been changed, they'll quickly say that something is not right here. They may comment in online blogs or on chat boards." And thus, the unauthorized changes to "Rent" very quickly came to the attention of MTI, which licenses "Rent." Cohen added that the director of the Towson University production of "Rent" seemed to imagine she had the right to change the ending of the show-but to him that simply indicated her naivete or ignorance of the law. [more]

ON THE TOWN… with CHIP DEFFAA, February 3, 2018

February 6, 2018

If you’re in the mood for a night of laughter, “The Outsider”—a new comedy by Paul Slade Smith, receiving its East Coast premiere in January and February at the Paper Mill Playhouse--is great good fun.  Oh, I’m not claiming it’s profound or a show that you’ll never forget, like “A Chorus Line.”  If “A Chorus Line” is like a fine roast-beef dinner, “The Outsider” is more like a hot dog with all the trimmings.  But sometimes a hot dog with all the trimmings just hits the spot. [more]

Tick, Tick… BOOM!

October 27, 2016

Out of this frustration, Larson in 1991 began performing a rock monologue about his life and stalled career called 30/90, as it was set in 1990 as he turned thirty. Later it was retitled "Boho Days" and then "tick, tick... BOOM!," as a chief device is the ticking of a clock. The show was performed for short engagements at several New York City venues and ignited Larson’s career, leading to the creation and presentation of Rent Off-Broadway in 1996. [more]

City Center Encores production of Jonathan Larson’s “tick, tick..BOOM!”

July 17, 2014

The audience packing City Center--whether applauding or laughing or cheering--certainly showed its enthusiasm throughout. The opening scene of "tick, tick...BOOM!" is very powerfully and economically written. I admire Larson's writing. Hearing those ticks (representing the relentless passing of time), and anticipating the coming boom (of an impending disaster that is somehow sensed without being fully understood) ... well, that came from a deep place. [more]