BoHo Theatre Presents TICK TICK…BOOM! Review — No One Escapes the Pressure of Time

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Revisiting the 90s

90s pop plays over the speakers as a fog machine pumps unending clouds of fog onto the stage. Towards the back of the stage sits the band’s instruments. Black and silver band equipment boxes stand off to the side ready to be rolled out to become the set pieces. It feels like we're transported back to the underground music scene in the 90s waiting for a concert to start.

Even the costumes feel like they're straight out of the 90s with light wash jeans, white sneakers, cuffed corduroys, and a denim overlay shirt. 

It’s here that we meet Jon.  His girlfriend wants to leave New York. His best friend is sick. His musical theatre career hasn't taken off. To top it all off, he's turning 30 in a week. The pressure is mounting for this composer as he tries to come to grips with all of these life changes all against the ticking of the clock in TICK TICK...BOOM!

Feeling Time Pass Quickly at BoHo Theatre

All these things feel like they're falling apart for Jon and like he has no accomplishments to show for his 20s. Now at 29, and he can see 30 creeping closer, it feels like a crossroads coming too quickly.

The rushing of time never seems to end as Alex Phan playing Jon gives us copious amounts of energy. He talks fast in his monologues as he jumps from one project to another - calling his girlfriend, musical rehearsals, and waiting tables at Sunday brunch. It feels like the embodiment of hearing that ticking clock and rushing trying to beat it.

His two other counterparts onstage, Luke Halpern and Crystal Claros playing Susan and Michael along with other supporting characters, also add to this mounting pressure. Claros dons a pair of large wire-rimmed spectacles to become Jon’s father and gives him the usual ribbing, hopeful his son has gotten a break. Halpern appears as Jon’s ever elusive agent and has the audience giggling as they deliver the bad news in a raspy, smokes-five-packs-a-day voice. 

They all play their characters with a lot of energy to paint these scenes for us, however there were moments, at least for this writer ,that didn't sound quite in harmony when the three were together. But when they have their individual moments and solos, each one puts their full emotion behind it

TICK TICK…BOOM! would be a good fit for those who might be in a similar situation of feeling like time is running out and would relate to this show. For those who might be past those stages of life, you still might enjoy this as a reminiscing journey. 



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Alec Phan (he/they) as Jonathan
Crystal Claros (they/he/she) as Michael
Luke Halpern (they/he/she) as Susan

Lizzie Mowry (they/them) (U/S Jonathan)
Larry D. Trice II (they/them) (U/S Michael)
Nathe Rowbotham (they/them) (U/S Susan)


Produced by Elizabeth Swanson (they/she) and Enrico Spada (he/him)
Direction by Bo Frazier (they/them)
Music Direction by Harper Caruso (she/her)
Choreography by Jamal Howard (he/him)
Intimacy Choreography by Kirsten Baity (they/them)
Scenic Design by Bek Lambrecht (they/them)
Sound Design by Eric Bakus (he/him)
Lighting Design by Piper Kirchhofer (she/her)
Costume Design by Liliana Otero (she/they)
Properties Design by Noah Elman (he/him)
Sound Engineering by Lynsy Folckomer (she/her)
Production Management by Dalton Long (he/him)
Technical Direction by Carl Herzog (he/him)
Production Stage Management by Leah Geis (she/they)
Assistant Stage Management by Rochelle Hovde (she/they)
Casting by Catherine Miller (they/them)
House Management by Patrick Starner (he/him)
Covid Safety Management by Lauren Peters (she/her)


January 12 - February 5, 2023

Sundays - 3 pm
Monday (1/30) - 7:30 pm
Thursdays - 7:30 pm
Fridays - 7:30 pm
Saturdays - 3 pm and 7:30 pm


The Edge Theater
5451 North Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640



For more information and tickets visit the BoHo Theatre website.

Photos: Jenn Udoni (he/they) - Franco Images Photography

Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago.

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Alexis Bugajski

About the Author: Alexis Bugajski

Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.

Editor's Note:  Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski

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