Tick, Tick...Boom! (2021) Movie Script

Hi. I'm Jon.
I'm a musical-theater writer.
One of the last of my species.
Sorry. So... so, you know, lately,
I've been hearing this sound.
Everywhere I go,
like a tick, tick, tick...
Like a time bomb in some cheesy B-movie
or Saturday morning cartoon.
The fuse has been lit.
The clock counts down the seconds
as the flame gets closer,
and closer, and closer,
until... all at once...
This is Jonathan Larson's story.
Happy anniversary, I love you so much.
Before the Tony Awards.
Before the Pulitzer Prize.
We dedicate this opening night
and every performance
to our friend, Jonathan Larson.
...we lost him.
you're about to see is true.
Except for the parts Jonathan made up.
The date is January 26th, 1990.
The setting, the barren,
unfashionable no-man's-land
between SoHo and Greenwich Village.
I have two keyboards,
a Macintosh computer.
A cat.
An impressive collection of compact discs,
cassettes, and records
of other people's music.
Bookshelves sagging under the weight
of plays and novels I didn't write.
I have an original,
dystopian rock musical...
...that I have spent the last eight years
of my life writing...
...and rewriting, and rewriting.
I have rejection letters
from every major and minor producer,
theater company, record label,
and film studio in existence.
And in just over a week...
I will be 30 years old.
Older than Stephen Sondheim
when he had his first Broadway show.
Older than Paul McCartney when
he wrote his last song with John Lennon.
By the time my parents were 30,
they already had two kids,
they had careers
with steady paychecks, a mortgage.
And in eight days,
my youth will be over forever.
And what exactly do I have
to show for myself?
Happy birthday!
Stop the clock
Take time out
Time to regroup
Before you lose the bout
Freeze the frame
Back it up
Time to refocus
Before they wrap it up
Years are getting shorter
Lines on your face are getting longer
Feel like you're treading water
But the riptide's getting stronger
Don't panic, don't jump ship
Can't fight it, like taxes
At least it happens
Only once in your life
They're singing "Happy Birthday"
You just want to lay down and cry
Not just another birthday, it's 30/90
Why can't you stay 29?
Hell, you still feel like you're 22
Turn 30, 1990
Bang! You're dead
What can you do?
What can you do?
What can you do?
I made ten copies.
You are an angel on earth.
- This is the last time. Seriously.
- I know. Thank you.
- No, no, no, I got you.
- I'm gonna pay.
- I don't want you to pay.
- Somebody needs to take out this trash.
So I hear you're moving
out of Jon's place.
That's the end of an era.
We hear him sobbing in the fridge
most mornings. It's very sad.
No, no, no.
We are not talking about that.
Wait, Carolyn,
you're coming next Friday, right?
What's happening Friday?
- The Superbia workshop.
- Surprised he hasn't mentioned it.
That sounds vaguely familiar.
Guys, this is the biggest break
I've ever had. This is that moment.
It's the first time people are gonna
see the show that aren't just us.
It's good you're not putting
too much pressure on it.
But it's true, though.
It's like, you get to a certain age and
you stop being a writer who waits tables
and you become a waiter with a hobby.
Boo-Boo, you need to ask yourself,
in this moment,
are you letting yourself
be led by fear or by love?
Clear the runway
Make another pass
Try one more approach
Before you're out of gas
Friends are getting fatter
Hairs on your head are getting thinner
Feel like a cleanup batter
On a team that ain't a winner
Don't freak out, don't strike out
Can't fight it, like City Hall
At least you're not alone
Your friends are there too
And they're singing "Happy Birthday"
You just wish you could run away
Who cares about a birthday?
But 30/90, hey
Can you be optimistic?
You're no longer the ingnue
Turn 30, 1990
Boom! You're pass
What can you do?
What can you do?
What can you do?
You just quit?
Well, no, I didn't just "quit" quit.
I gave... I gave my notice.
- That's exactly the same thing.
- No, I have two weeks left.
I'm allowing myself to be led by love.
You know, Rosa's got another client.
Craig Carnelia.
This is Rosa your agent,
who hasn't returned your calls in a year?
Yeah, yeah. That's the one.
So she invited the entire theater industry
to Craig's musical workshop last year.
And by intermission, some producer
had already written him
a check for ten thousand dollars.
I just wish that
you didn't have to think like that.
Well, it's expensive to make art.
No, baby, it's expensive to make art here.
Yeah, but worth every penny.
- That's beautiful.
- I know, right?
How are you gonna pay for this, Jonathan?
Peter Pan and Tinkerbell
Which way to Never Never Land?
Emerald City's gone to hell
- Since the wizard blew off his command
- Blew off his command
On the streets you hear the voices
Lost children, crocodiles
You're not into
Making choices, wicked witches
Poppy fields or men behind the curtain
Tiger lilies, ruby slippers
Clock is ticking, that's for certain
They're singing "Happy Birthday"
- Happy birthday
- I just wish it all were a dream
It feels much more like doomsday
- Fuck 30/90
- 30/90
Seems like I'm in for a twister
I don't see a rainbow, do you?
Turn 30 in the '90s
Look into my hands now
The ball has passed
I want the spoils, but not too fast
The world is calling
It's now or Neverland
Why can't I stay a child forever and?
30/90, 30/90
30/90, 30/90
- 30/90, 30, 30/90
- 30, 30/90
- What can I do?
- What can I do?
30/90, 30, 30/90
What can I do?
Ladies and gentlemen,
please give it up for our band,
and also for my
very, very, very dear friends,
Roger and Karessa on vocals.
Friday night.
Hi, Jonathan, it's Deborah.
Susan dropped off your music
for tonight's dance...
...but I can't get the speakers to work.
- Hey, Pookie.
- Hi.
How was Philly?
I went from the airport
to a conference room
and then back to the airport
three hours later.
- Sounds amazing.
- Mm.
Michael was an amazing actor.
Yeah, he was the lead of every play
in high school, college.
And then we moved to New York.
I am sick of waking up at 5:00
to get in line outside
the Equity Building and wait all day,
praying that the director
actually even agrees
to see anyone that's non-union, and then,
when I finally do get in the room, I sing...
I don't know, six measures,
if I'm lucky, before they cut me off
and call me the wrong name...
Juan, Pedro, Carlos... lo que sea.
And then a week later, he got a job
at a fancy advertising company,
making high five figures.
Healthcare, dental...
He never looked back.
You know, for someone who's broke,
you could probably spend
a little bit less on party planning.
Well, what is the point of money,
if you're not gonna spend it
on the people you love?
- Yeah, except you don't have any money.
- Oh, right.
This has been sitting here for a week.
- I'm on it.
- Mm-hm. Yeah. You seem very on it.
Pretty soon you won't have me around
to remind you to pay your bills on time.
How will I ever survive?
That's a very real question.
Have you found a new roommate yet?
I've been a little busy. You know.
My workshop is next week.
Wait, what workshop?
That was funny.
What time's the show tonight?
- Curtain's at 8:00.
- Mm...
I've heard the dancing's amazing,
but the music sucks.
Susan grew up
in a small town in the Midwest.
She went to college to study biology,
she thought she'd become
a doctor, maybe teach.
But then she fell in love...
...with modern dance instead.
Every parent's dream, right?
She moved to New York
without knowing a soul.
Four years later, she's already danced
with every major choreographer
in the city.
Paul, Trisha, Merce.
1990. This was the year
she was finally gonna join a company.
Not just go from job to job.
Actually have a home, an artistic family.
And she was ready.
This was her year. She knew it.
And then she fractured her ankle
during a dress rehearsal.
Six months of rehab later,
she's dancing again, it's just...
whatever that moment was, when she knew...
all of a sudden, she doesn't know anymore.
But Susan is a real artist.
She doesn't care about seeing her name
in the New York Times.
It doesn't matter to her
if she's dancing in front of five people
or in front of five thousand.
And then there's the matter of us.
Love shack
Baby, love shack
Love shack
Baby, love shack...
You know he can't
afford all of this, right?
Well, he loves making a fuss,
especially about you.
After everything we've done for him...
- Stop!
- ...he walks away.
Freddy, look, I'm leaving you my mixtapes.
- Oh!
- You can play them in remembrance of me.
Jonathan Larson's famous
Moondance Diner mixtape.
Who doesn't love showtunes
with their French toast?
Actually, it's not just showtunes.
It's a very eclectic mix.
- Someone's very touchy about mixtapes.
- Apparently.
Okay, listen. I'm happy for you.
- I really am.
- Oh, yeah?
I'm also extremely bitter
and jealous and envious,
and sort of hateful towards you right now.
I mean... he's getting out.
And you're gonna be next.
- Well, I got a callback last week.
- Great!
- For a cruise.
- What's wrong with a cruise?
It's an Arctic cruise,
so pretty much everything.
Uh, every single thing is wrong with that.
It's in the Arctic.
- How you feeling?
- Um...
It's been a really good week.
T-cell count is good.
My doctor feels cautiously optimistic.
Okay, good. You look great.
Oh, my God, thank you. I know.
But for the cruise,
I'm gonna have to sort of...
- Tighten up. Pull it, pull it up.
- Make it tight.
Scott and I, we used to sing madrigals
in high school.
- What? Really?
- Yeah, yeah.
I hated singing.
I just did it for the pussy.
Ran into Scott in SoHo and he really...
really wanted to come.
Got it. Got it.
I never get to go
to artist parties, you know?
It sucks.
The drugs there are always the best.
Mm. Mm-hm...
- Scott's in finance.
- Shocking.
- Yeah. What do you do?
- I'm the future of musical theater, Scott.
Welcome. I'm gonna get another drink.
That guy's hilarious.
This is the life, bo-bo, bo-bo bo
This is the life, bo-bo, bo-bo bo
This is the life, bo-bo, bo-bo bo
Shower's in the kitchen
There might be some soap
Dishes in the sink
Brush your teeth if you can cope
Toilet's in the closet
You better hope
There's a light bulb in there
Not today!
Revolving door roommates
Prick up your ears
- Fourteen people in just four years
- Whoo!
Ann and Max and Jonathan
And Carolyn and Kerri
David, Tim...
No, Tim was just a guest from June
To January
Margaret, Lisa, David, Susie
Stephen, Joe and Sam
And Elsa, the bill collector's dream
Who still is on the lam
Don't forget the neighbors
Michelle and Gay
More like a family than a family, hey
The time is flying
And everything is dying
I thought by now
I'd have a dog, a kid, a wife
The ship is sort of sinking
So let's start drinking
Before we start thinking
Is this the life?
- Yeah!
- This is the life, bo-bo, bo-bo bo
This is the life, bo-bo, bo-bo bo
This is the life, bo-bo, bo-bo bo
- Bohemia
- Yeah, yeah, yeah!
- Bohemia
- One more time!
Bo-bo, bo-bo bo
That was freaking amazing!
- Whoo!
- Yeah, Scott!
Hi. Everyone's leaving.
- I just needed some fresh air.
- Okay.
It's freezing up here.
Where is your coat?
Oh, I don't know. It's, uh...
It's at the bottom of a very large pile.
Wow. That's pretty.
That's the prison barge.
Oh, yeah.
I heard, uh, in Jacob's Pillow, they're
hiring new teachers for the dance school.
- Oh, yeah?
- Yeah.
Work a couple of hours a week.
Then the rest of the time is yours.
- Free studio space whenever you want.
- Hey... Whoa...
- Can we just talk for a second?
- Mm.
Can we just talk about
how amazing you were tonight?
- Thank you.
- I am not messing around.
I could just watch you dancing forever.
I was thinking of maybe applying.
- Hm?
- To the job in Jacob's Pillow.
- We went there last summer, remember?
- Oh.
We saw the new Mark Morris.
- Oh, yeah!
- Yeah.
- That's the place in the Berkshires?
- Mm-hm.
So, you're gonna move to the Berkshires?
And not have to work
30 hours a week doing word processing
to pay the rent, why not?
I might actually be able
to get back into shape.
Okay. Yeah. All right.
Let's do it. Let's move.
- I'm being serious.
- Hey, I'm being serious.
We're gonna live in a log cabin.
We're gonna hunt... acorns.
We're gonna...
We're gonna gather squirrels.
What are you even talking about?
It's the Berkshires.
People have vacation homes there.
You've been there.
I'm so sorry.
Can we... Can we please go inside?
Sorry, I just feel like I'm scared...
I'm beginning
to lose sensation in my extremities.
You are such a baby.
Take this.
Whoa. Hold on.
You like?
I thought that you were in a hurry
to get back inside.
You know that job in the Berkshires?
- Yeah, sounds amazing.
- I already applied for it.
- Oh, yeah?
- Yeah.
- And I got it.
- Oh...
- Oh, yeah? That's great.
- Yeah.
It starts in June.
Okay. So this is just for the summer?
No. Mm-mm, it's permanent.
Whoa, the Berkshires?
That is, like, so far from Midtown.
Yeah. Yeah.
Why is she doing this right now?
And she says,
"I want you to come with me."
- What did you say?
- I said, "Oh?"
What am I supposed to say?
I didn't know what to say.
I mean, like, I can't...
I can't leave New York.
- Oh, tell her to move in with you.
- Move in where?
You need a new roommate, right?
It's two birds, one stone.
You are very welcome.
Okay, so, what... what about the guy
that you were dating? David?
- I thought you guys were great together.
- It didn't work out.
Oh. There's a focus group
at the office this week,
and they're looking for a few more people.
How about I sign you up?
So you can lure me to the dark side?
No! So I can introduce you
to my colleagues,
and show them how brilliant you are.
I don't want a job in advertising.
I don't want you
to have a job in advertising.
I want you to have a job in...
jingle writing.
No, listen.
You come up with jingles
all the time for fun, Jon.
You come up with songs
about cereal we're eating.
You could get paid for that.
Well, you know,
when Superbia gets produced,
I will be getting paid
for my music anyway. So...
That's true.
And we are here.
Home sweet home.
Oh... my... God!
Michael tosses the keys
to the parking attendant.
What apartment building
has a parking attendant?
Fresh flowers in the lobby.
An old, white lady with a tiny dog.
Is this real life?
No more
Walking 13 blocks
With 30 pounds of laundry
In the freezing dead of winter
No more
Walking up six flights of stairs
Or throwing down the key
Because there is no buzzer
No more faulty wiring
No more crooked floors
No more spitting out my Ultra Brite
On top of dirty dishes
In the one and only sink
Hello to my walk-in closets
Tidy as Park Avenue
Hello, my butcher block table
I could get used
I could get used
I could get used to you
No more
Climbing over sleeping people
Before you get out the door
Of your own building
No more
Noxious fumes from gas heaters
That are illegal
Or will blow up
While you are sleeping!
- No more
- Leaky ceilings
- No more
- Holes in the floor
No more
Taking a shower in the kitchen
While your roommate's
Eating breakfast
And you're getting water
On his cornflakes
Hello to shiny
New parquet wood floors
As waxed as a wealthy girl's legs
Hello, dear Mr. Dishwasher
- I could get used
- I could get used
- I could get used
- I could get
- Used to you
- I could get used to you
No more... exotic
No more... neurotic
No more anything
But pleasantly robotic
- We're movin' on up
- We're movin' on up
- To the East Side
- To the East Side
To a deluxe apartment
In the sky
Hello to dear Mr. Doorman
Who looks like Captain Kangaroo
Hello dear fellow, and how do you do?
- I could get used
- I could get used
- I could get used
- I could get
- Used to you
- I could get used to you, yeah!
- I could get used
- I could get used
- Even seduced
- Even seduced
- I could get used to you
- Used to you
Stand clear
of the closing doors.
I swear to God!
I'm talking to you in the back.
Stand clear of the closing doors.
You still don't have the song?
This has never happened
to me before. I...
I don't know.
I usually write a song in a day.
Last week, I wrote a song about sugar.
It took me three hours.
- Song about sugar?
- Sugar
She is refined
For a small price
She blows my mind
Why would you do that?
An exercise.
In what?
I like to see
if I can write a song about anything.
Why don't you try to see
if you can write a song for your musical
that's being presented
to an audience in six days instead?
Ira Weitzman, head of
musical theater at Playwrights Horizons.
The first, and so far,
only actual theater person
to offer to put on a workshop of Superbia.
I'm starting to think
that maybe I don't need it.
- You do need it.
- You know...
...you're the only person
who ever said that.
Just so you know.
You're telling me in the five years
you've been writing this musical...
Eight years, actually.
...no one else has told you
that you're missing a song
for Elizabeth in the second act?
No one.
Okay, I'm lying.
One person did say that.
For years, I was a part
of this musical theater writing workshop.
Liquid crystal digital readout
Floating on a sea of gray
Once a week, we would gather the few
surviving members of our dwindling tribe.
We'd watch one of us present what
we'd been working on to a panel of, well...
real writers.
The theater legends,
who created the Broadway shows
that we'd grown up dragging our parents
into the city to see...
Dividing the day away
The panel would change every week.
Counting slowly
Measuring moments...
The night I presented,
people began to buzz
as soon as we walked through the door.
Is it really him?
It was.
Stephen Sondheim.
All right, I'll start.
I'm lost.
I... I don't know what the show is.
Is it social commentary?
Is it science fiction?
And the music is the same thing.
Is it rock? Is it Broadway? Is it both?
Is it neither? Steve, what did you think?
I have to say,
I disagree pretty strongly, Walter.
I think this is a musical
that knows exactly what it is.
Yes. Yes. Of course, yes. Abso...
The world that you've created
is really original.
It's fascinating.
The problem is, it's not particularly easy
to follow the emotional thread.
The details distract us
from connecting with the characters.
- Does that make sense?
- Okay. Okay.
Yes, yes. We're on the same page.
That's exactly how I felt.
We're saying the same thing,
just differently.
But the music, okay, I'm sorry...
The music just wasn't there.
I actually...
I thought the songs were swell.
Yeah, okay... Yes. Yes.
The individual songs.
I particularly like the one the young man
sings at the end of the first act.
First rate lyric and tune. Well done.
"First rate lyric and tune."
Thank you.
Those five words were enough
to keep me going for the next two years.
You're missing a song
for the young woman. Uh...
- Elizabeth?
- Elizabeth.
It's the turning point in the show.
Your protagonist is either gonna go
in this direction or that direction.
Someone has to wake him up,
shake some sense into him.
It's so funny because I was
gonna say the exact same thing.
Can we talk musicians?
Because if it's only gonna be four,
then I gotta figure out how
I'm gonna split up the bass parts.
This is for you. Here you go.
- Thank you.
- Yeah. Uh...
- Jon, this is a reading.
- Mm.
You'll have a piano.
I wrote a rock score.
So, at the very least I'll need a synth
and drums and a guitar and...
A great song should sound great
without any instruments.
Mm. Okay.
Let's just do the song as a cappella.
Oh, actually, you know what?
Maybe we'll just skip the songs,
and then we can get the audience
in and out in half an hour.
I will take a look at the budget
and I will see if I can dig up
some money for another musician.
Two more.
And piano is the absolute
bare minimum for this.
Have you spoken to Rosa?
Hey, Rosa, this is Jonathan Larson,
your client.
I've left multiple messages
with your secretary.
- Rosa Stevens is still your agent, right?
- Oh, yeah. No, yeah, we...
We talk constantly.
Has she sent out the invites
for the presentation yet?
We haven't gotten a lot of RSVPs.
- It's fine.
- Mm.
Nobody has more contacts
in the industry than Rosa.
I'm sure she'll get some
good people there for you.
Yeah, yeah.
- I'll see you Monday.
- Yes, sir.
First day of rehearsal.
And finish the song already. Please.
- Thank you, Ira.
- Thanks.
Thank you for all this. Thank you.
Yeah. I want to leave a message
for Mr. Sondheim.
This is, um... my name is Jonathan Larson.
Hi there, this is a message for Joe Papp.
For Bernie Gersten.
For the Artistic Director
of the Shubert Organization.
For La MaMa. So, it's Larson, L-A-R-S-O-N.
No, not Parson. It's something
that's never been done before.
It's gonna be quite the event.
It has tremendous commercial possibility.
We're filling up fast.
I want to make sure you got your spot.
I know that his time is limited.
Oh! It would be such a treat!
Zero pressure.
Ha-ha. I really want you there.
So, can I count you in?
There'll be a seat reserved for him.
Superbia at Playwrights Horizons.
It's at 10:00 a.m.
This Friday at 10:00 a.m.
I'm so excited about Friday.
I wouldn't want you to miss it.
That's all the information I can give you.
They should put
every Sondheim musical on PBS.
Well, Sunday is a pretty good start.
I don't understand,
why can't he just tell her he loves her?
Why can't he be an artist
and love her?
He... He does love her.
Yeah, but, like,
he can't express it.
That's a personal problem. Yeah.
I'm sayin'...
Bernadette in that corset...
Like, that waist is just like...
How did he do that?
Day by day
Let the sunshine
It's the end of the world
As we know it
- Did you crack it yet?
- Oh, I'm getting so close.
- Call me if you need inspiration.
- No, no, don't go. Hang out.
You can... you can sleep in your old room.
Write the song, Boo-Boo.
...with AIDS.
North Carolina Senator, Jesse Helms,
is worried the legislation
was sending the wrong message.
Let me say that if IV drug users
and homosexual men
would stop their activities today,
there would never be
another case of AIDS in this country
other than the ones already in progress.
Henry Champ, at the US Capitol.
The Senate
has overwhelmingly approved legislation
providing nearly $3 billion...
- Hi.
- Hey. Oh, my God! I love you.
Uh, they want an answer by Wednesday.
So I was wondering
if we could maybe talk about it?
- The job.
- Oh.
Yeah. Um...
Can we, uh, talk about it tomorrow?
'Cause I have to finish
this song right now. Is that okay?
You sure you're sure?
I'm sure.
You don't seem sure.
- Good night, Jonathan.
- Okay, good night. Um...
I'll be in.
Break of day, the dawn is here
Johnny's up and pacing
Compromise or persevere
His mind is racing
Johnny has no guide
Johnny wants to hide
Can he make his mark
If he gives up his spark?
Johnny can't decide
Susan longs to live by the sea
She's through with competition
Susan wants a life with me
Johnny's got a tough decision
Johnny has no guide
Johnny wants to hide
Can he settle down
- And still not drown?
- Drown
Johnny can't decide
Michael's gotta have it all
His luck will never end
Johnny's backed against a wall
Can he bend his dream
Just like his friend?
- Johnny sees that Susan's right
- Susan's right
Ambition eats right through you
Michael doesn't see why Johnny
- Holds so tight
- I hold so tight
To the things
That Johnny feels are true
Johnny has no guide
Johnny has no guide
- Johnny wants to hide
- Johnny wants to hide
How can you soar
When you're nailed to the floor?
Johnny can't decide
- Johnny has no guide
- Johnny has no guide
- Johnny wants to hide
- Johnny wants to hide
How do you know
When it's time to let go?
Johnny can't decide
- Johnny can't decide
- Johnny can't decide
- Johnny can't decide
- Decide
- Decide
- Johnny can't decide
- Johnny can't decide
- Johnny can't decide
Johnny can't decide
- Decide, decide
- Decide
- Decide, decide
- Decide
Johnny can't decide
Freddy's in the emergency room.
He woke up Saturday morning
with a fever, he could...
He couldn't stop shivering.
Wait, wait, no. Wait.
La... He told me last week
his T-cell count...
The doctor said that it was exactly
where they wanted it, four days ago.
I guess it changed.
- He's gonna be fine.
- Yeah, you know... you're right.
I mean it. He's gonna be fine.
Think about it.
You know how stubborn he is.
He's a pain in the ass.
- Right?
- Yeah.
Frankly, we should be pissed at him
that he's left us understaffed.
- At Sunday brunch.
- Right.
- You know what I'm saying?
- Yeah.
Freddy, shit!
I should go to the hospital.
When am I gonna go to the hospital?
I need to write.
When am I gonna write?
I need to talk to Susan.
I need to see Freddy. I should call Susan.
Why can't I write this song?
How can you possibly be thinking
about your show
when your friend is in the hospital?
What am I doing here?
I need to leave.
I need to walk out that door and go.
But it's 9:30 on a Sunday morning
at the Moondance Diner.
I'm not going anywhere.
Eggs up!
Do you have any of that
wonderful Jewish bread?
It's "holly," dear.
They call it "holly" bread.
Would you like some challah bread?
Somebody pick up these eggs.
Tranquilo, tranquilo.
Ya, tranquilo. Termina tu obra!
Harrington for four.
Harrington? Harrington?
Uh, ex...
Moondance. What do you want?
That was a Ghostbusters reference.
Do we take reservations?
No, we do not... We're a diner.
- Where's my rye bread?
- Name, please?
- Richard.
- Richard. How many?
- Caplan.
- Richard Caplan.
How many in your party?
- With a "C."
- Got it. How many in your party?
"C" as in "cat."
- I understand.
- Can we order?
One second. How many in your party?
It's not a math test.
Thank you for your patience.
I said an omelet with no yolks.
This is why you're just a waiter.
Major vomit situation in the ladies' room.
- Check!
- Can we get two more mimosas, please?
'Cause she got a new job, okay?
Either put some Baileys in this coffee
or put some vodka
in this orange juice, please.
BLT up.
Si se quejan de que se enfra,
no es culpa ma!
- Carolyn.
- Can we get the check?
- Carolyn?
- Hey.
- Excuse me. Do you have any Baileys?
- One sec.
Jesus Christ!
In the blue, silver chromium diner
On the green, purple
Yellow, red stools
Sit the fools
Who should eat at home
- Instead they pay on Sunday
- Sunday
For a cool orange juice or a bagel
On the soft, green cylindrical stools
Sit the fools
Drinking cinnamon coffee
Or decaffeinated tea
- Forever
- Forever
In the blue, silver chromium diner
Drips the green, orange, violet drool
From the fools
Who'd pay less at home
Drinking coffee
And dark
And cholesterol
And bums, bums, bums, bums
Bums, bums, bums, bums, bums
People screaming for their toast
In a small SoHo cafe
On an island in Two Rivers
On an ordinary
Monday morning.
My first day of rehearsals
for the Superbia workshop, which is still,
in case you'd forgotten, missing its
crucial Act Two musical number.
I make my way there
through the land of the dead...
the Theater District.
Walk through Times Square
And what do you see?
Ugliness where
Architecture used to be
The glamour and style
Have been replaced by gaud
Like the sixty-dollar spectacle
It's all a fraud
- That's the play game
- That's the play game
So why do I want
To play the play game?
- That's the play game
- That's the play game
I must be insane
To play the play game
Even off Broadway
It's no guarantee
That some MBA
Won't decide what you see
Just like America, lackin' innovation
Just gettin' by
On glitz and reputation
Just like America, on the decline
Unconcerned with the product
Just the bottom line
Write for the movies, write for TV
So what if it's crap?
At least you won't write for free
Make thousands of dollars
For a first draft
Your life won't depend
On whether Frank Rich laughed
So just forget Shakespeare
Beckett, Molire
- That's the play game
- That's the play game
Why do I want to play the play game?
That's the play game
Must be insane
To play the play game
- That's the play game
- That's the play game
- That's the play game
- That's the play game
- That's the play game
- That's the play game
That's the play game
Why do I care?
I'll be auditioning for the role
of Old Deuteronomy.
On behalf of Playwrights Horizons,
I want to welcome everyone
and thank you all for taking part
in this very exciting new musical
by a very exciting young writer,
Jonathan Larson.
He's not even 30.
Oh, wow. Thank you, Ira.
Um... this is the first real workshop
that this musical has ever had.
And now you guys are part of the family.
So, any questions
before we, uh, get going?
- Yeah, no. Yeah.
- Um...
Could you... um...
Could you explain it, maybe?
Yeah. Explain what?
Oh, just the musical. The story.
It's a little, um, confusing
in certain places. Not in a bad way.
Superbia, a satire set in the future
on a poisoned planet Earth,
where the vast majority of humanity
spend their entire lives
just staring at the screens
of their media transmitters,
watching the tiny elite
of the rich and powerful,
who film their own fabulous lives
like TV shows.
A world where human emotion
has been outlawed.
This will be the first musical written
for the MTV generation.
This is my...
Is it supposed to be aliens?
I wasn't sure if it was all, like, aliens.
Nope, not aliens. Um...
But it is set in the future.
The color scheme for the day
Is black-red-black
The drug, of course
Will be the kilowatt
The trend today is to say
The adjective "fun" a lot
It's perfect. Keep going. Keep going.
Studd star, you have received
Two nominations
"Face of the Year"
And "Best Hair"
Prepare a speech
For your photo opportunity
Your agent Tim Pursent will be there
I love it. I love it.
- You told me you needed a drummer.
- Oh, my goodness.
Good night. Wonderful work.
Really wonderful work.
I... I told you I needed a band.
It's 100 dollars for every musician.
Yeah. And your annual operating budget
is half a million dollars?
So far we're up to 12 RSVPs, Jon.
You don't need a band
with an audience of 12 people.
You'll outnumber them.
If you want more musicians,
you're gonna have to find
the money for it somewhere else.
I'm sorry.
Thank you for everything.
I went to three
friends' funerals last year.
The oldest one was 27.
Pam, Gordon, Ally.
Freddy's not even...
He turned 25 two weeks ago.
And nobody's doing enough.
I'm not doing enough.
There's not enough time,
or maybe I'm just wasting my time.
And what about Susan's time?
When am I gonna talk to Susan?
What am I gonna say?
I don't know what to say.
So Susan waits,
and the time keeps ticking.
Tick, tick, tick.
And I have three days left
until the workshop.
Three days left to write this song.
And if the song doesn't work,
the show doesn't work,
and then it's all been a waste of time.
Who gives a shit about a song?
And I miss Michael.
I need to talk to Michael.
I don't have time to talk to Michael.
Everyone who ever has
Or ever will be anyone will be there
Never in the history
Of entertainment will there be an affair
Make sure you're not speeding up.
Quite like it
The event of the century
The quintessential social adventure...
I'm missing consonants
in "quintessential social adventure."
- Hi. Thanks.
- It sounds great.
Why didn't you tell me you were coming?
- I thought it might be a nice surprise.
- Oh, no. It is. It is.
Okay. It's Tuesday.
I need to give them the decision
about the job by tomorrow, so...
Is there a moment
where you can take a break?
I can't. No, the actors take breaks.
I don't... I don't have any breaks.
I just don't know what I'm gonna do. So...
Can you... Can you ask for an extension?
I'm sorry, can we...
Can we talk about this tonight?
I'm so... One second.
This is... Can we get this section...
- A nomination
- A nomination?
A nomination for a Face Award
- A Face Award
- Let's plug in
Does this mean
That I'll be on the air?
You already were
- Last night, what a sight you were
- I was?
You were
You played with my laser
You thought it was a razor
I'm positive that's what
Caused such a scene
We can get on the air
My music box on the air
Where? Who?
What does this mean?
Everyone who ever has
Or ever will be anyone will be there
I can give you 50 for everything.
You're gonna sell it
for five times that amount.
Fifty's the best I can do.
- Cash?
- Great.
Oh, no.
He's keeping the Godspell.
"Day by Day."
Yeah, yeah. I love it.
Ah, ah, ah!
I'd love to take you to lunch.
Celebrate your birthday.
I can't this week.
I could really use
your advice on some things.
Hey, Michael? I'm sorry,
can I call you back later?
I'm just... I'm right in the middle
of something here.
Oh, uh, that focus group I mentioned...
They're still looking
for one more person to sign up.
It's Thursday at 11:00.
I know money's tight for you right now.
You know what? Never mind.
Uh, wait. How much does it pay?
It's only 75 bucks,
but it could be a thing.
I'll be there.
Thank you really. That's... Yeah, thank you.
- Wow.
- Okay, bye. Bye-bye.
All right, see you.
Everyone who ever has
Or ever will be anyone will be there
- You were right.
- I know.
Never in the history
Of entertainment will there be
An affair quite like it
The event of the century
The quintessential social adventure
We cannot afford to miss
This night of bliss
The 31st annual Face Awards
Presentation ceremony
Live via satellite in color
It's an 18-hour function
With commercial interruption
From a marvelous, glorious
Slam bang glamorama
Everyone who's anyone knows
Everyone who's anyone knows
Everyone who's anyone knows
Everyone who's anyone knows
Everyone who's anyone knows
Everyone will be
Can I hear it?
- Huh?
- The new song.
Any day now.
You're killin' me, Larson.
Oh, sh...
My God.
Hey, it's me.
Just pick up the phone.
I know you're screening your calls.
Every light is on
in your apartment right now.
I can see you!
Hey. Hi. You could have called first.
- I just did.
- Mm.
It's good to see you too.
I didn't mean it like that.
Jesus, Jonathan.
I need you to talk to me.
I'm writing, Susan. I'm writing.
You're gonna write a great
American musical in the next ten minutes?
Thank you for being
so supportive of my work.
Because you've been
such a champion of mine?
- What's that supposed to mean?
- What do you think it means?
And now, ladies and gentlemen,
we present you with...
...scenes from a modern
romance as told in song.
I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I...
I'm not allowed to talk about my needs.
What needs?
- Did I say that?
- You didn't have to say it. It's implied.
How is it implied?
You're the artist and I'm the girlfriend.
That's how you feel, right?
I feel bad
That you feel bad
About me feeling bad
About you feeling bad
About what I said
About what you said
About me not being able
To share a feeling
- Can we talk about this later, please?
- When, Jonathan? When is later?
Not tonight.
If I thought that
What you thought
Was that I hadn't thought
About sharing my thoughts
Then my reaction
To your reaction
To my reaction
Would have been more revealing
I have been rehearsing all day.
I have been up since four this morning.
I have been trying to write a song
for a week and I am nowhere.
I was afraid that you'd be afraid
If I told you that
I was afraid of intimacy
I've been telling you
how unhappy I am for months.
If you don't have a problem
With my problem
Maybe the problem's
Simply co-dependency
Everyone's unhappy in New York!
That's what New York is!
- I was wrong to
- Say you were wrong to
- Say I was wrong about
- You being wrong
- When you rang to say
- The ring was the wrong thing to bring
If I meant what I said
When I said "rings bored me"
I don't know how
to get through to you anymore.
You keep shutting me out,
you keep putting up these fences.
- I'm not. I'm not shutting you out.
- You're a million miles away all the time.
- Actually, I'm right here.
- Are you, Jonathan?
Actually? Because I know you.
I'm not mad
That you got mad
When I got mad
When you said I should go drop dead
If I were you
And I'd done what I'd done
I'd do what you did
When I gave you the ring
Having said what I said
You're right. I've been distracted,
but I promise you, after the workshop...
After the workshop.
After the workshop!
Everything is after the workshop.
What if the workshop happens
and nothing changes?
No producer with a big check.
You don't go straight to Broadway.
You're still a waiter, you're still living
in this apartment, you're still broke.
What then, Jonathan? What about me?
I feel bad that you feel bad
About me feeling bad
About you feeling bad about what I said
About what you said
About me not being
Able to share a feeling
Feeling badly about you
I can't move to the Berkshires.
I can't leave my career behind.
You think I don't know that?
What are you...? What is this?
What do you want?
I guess I just...
I wanted you to tell me not to go.
If I thought that what you thought
Was I hadn't thought
About sharing my thoughts
Then my reaction to your reaction
To my reaction
- Would have been more revealing
- When I reacted to you
Of course I don't want you to go.
- Really?
- Obviously.
'Cause this is the first time
you've ever said it.
Oh, my God.
Now it's out in the open
You're thinking about how you can
turn this into a song. Aren't you?
Now it's off our chest
No. What?
You know what, Jonathan? I'm done.
Susan? Susan, wait.
I hope that you have an amazing workshop.
Susan, hold on. Susan?
Now it's 4:00 a.m.
And we have therapy tomorrow
It's too late to screw
So let's just get some rest
So, just waiting on one more person.
Enjoy those waters.
I'm Jon.
- Yes, Mr. Larson, you're Michael's friend.
- Yeah.
- How are you?
- Good. You're late.
- Oh.
- Okay.
- Sorry about that.
- That's okay.
- No, because of the subway.
- Yeah, I'm sure.
Take a seat when you can.
- Hi.
- Welcome.
Oh. Thanks.
You sure there's no way
to get into the bathroom?
Oh, no, you're not allowed
to use the bathroom.
Sorry, did she mention
when we were gonna get paid?
Okay, um, so now that we're all here...
- Hi.
- Hey.
Why don't we begin
with a quick brainstorming session? Right?
Just to get those creative juices flowing.
You know what I mean? It'll be fun.
Two hours of this.
For one extra musician.
So why don't we start
by you just throwing out some ideas
when you hear me say the word "America."
- George Washington.
- Excellent.
- Abraham Lincoln.
- Abraham Lincoln. Okay.
Empire, racism, genocide, Vietnam.
Grover Cleveland.
- The Constitution?
- Yes.
- Yeah.
- Magna Carta.
- The Bill of Rights.
- Mm-hm.
- The right thing to do.
- Ooh.
- The right stuff.
- Right stuff.
An open road at sunset.
Wind in your hair.
Nothing in your way, except horizon.
That is beautiful, Mr. Larson.
Wow. Okay. That goes on the board.
- The sun.
- Sunrise.
The dawn of a new day.
- Oh! Where did you come from?
- It all goes back.
- You're amazing.
- That is incredible.
A window looking out on a field.
Oh, and I look out, and I see
the bunnies and little squirrelies...
The beating heart of the nation.
- Ooh!
- Oh, my gosh.
- Absolutely. That's absolutely what it is.
- Beautiful.
- I've never even heard that before.
- You are gifted.
I could get used to this.
I could get paid for this.
I could get health care. A 401.
A BMW. A luxury apartment...
on Central Park West.
No, no, no... East.
I could actually be rewarded
for my creativity,
instead of rejected and ignored.
This could be the rest of my life.
Now that we have all those
fabulous ideas of yours in our heads,
we are going to turn to the task at hand.
We are here to develop a name
of a revolutionary consumer product
that is just about to hit your shelves.
Oh. Wow.
This is where we're gonna need
that incredible imagination
of yours, Mr. Larson.
So the product we're looking at
is a tasteless, odorless chemical compound
that will be used as
a fat substitute in cooking.
And it's been successfully tested
on a number of mammals.
Well, that's good. Mm.
There are some side effects
associated with the product
that I've been instructed
to tell you about.
So it's skin scales.
Um... full hair loss.
Hair, eyebrows, eyelashes...
This could be the rest of my life.
And finally, in a small number of users,
there were reports
of toxic shock syndrome...
resulting in a brief hospitalization.
- Eh, no big deal.
- There are no bad ideas.
- Free oil.
- Love it.
- Oil free.
- Okay.
- That's the same thing she just said.
- I switched the words around.
That's totally fine, Kim.
Thank you so much.
- The American Dream.
- Okay, well...
- Dreams of freedom.
- Okay.
- Nutra-oil.
- That's not bad, Todd.
Waist oil. No.
I got it.
- I have it. I have the exact...
- Go, go!
You wanna hear? I got the exact
right thing for this product.
- It's a joke.
- It's not funny.
- Well, maybe not to you but...
- I recommended you, Jon.
I put my name on the line for you.
- Tell them I had a stroke.
- It isn't funny.
This is my life.
No, it's not your life, it's advertising.
It's figuring out how to trick people
into buying shit that they don't want.
Actually, it's a lot more
complicated than that.
I don't understand how
you can take any of this seriously.
- Because they pay me to.
- Money isn't everything.
- Well, it doesn't hurt.
- Are you sure about that?
What are you doing with your life
that's so noble?
- I'm making art.
- That's what the world needs. More art.
Actually, yes. And at least
I'm not perpetuating a system that's...
Spare the self-righteousness, Jon.
You're writing musicals
in your living room,
you're not saving the rainforest.
Gosh, I wish I could be more like you,
and spend my life caring
about driving the right car
and wearing the right suits
and living in a doorman building.
Why shouldn't I want those things, Jon?
Not all of us have options you do.
All the things that you take for granted.
- What? Like what?
- Like a life with the person you love.
Do you know what I would give for that?
You... You turn your nose up at it.
If that's what you want,
what's stopping you?
What's stopping me? How about
Jesse Helms and the Moral Majority?
How about the people
that run this country?
I can't get married. I can't have kids.
Half our friends are dying and the other
half are scared to death they are next.
So, I'm sorry for getting a nice car, Jon.
I'm sorry for moving into
an apartment with central heating.
I'm sorry for enjoying my life
while I still have time.
I gotta go.
You wanna come take the subway?
- I'd rather walk.
- Michael.
Johnny, darling. It's Rosa.
- Hello?
- Rosa Stevens?
- Are we excited for tomorrow?
- Tomorrow?
The presentation.
You remembered the presentation?
Remembered it?
I got every producer in town coming.
So it better be good.
Yeah, it's, uh... it's gonna be amazing.
Let's see if we can't get
a bidding war started
on this musical of yours. What do you say?
Yes, sure.
Okay, doll.
Charlie, get me Hal Prince on the line.
Rosa? Um, I...
I'm so sorry.
Yeah. I know, I know, I know.
Oh, no.
Why wouldn't you have called me
to tell me my payment was late
before you just cut off my power?
How is...? How does that make sense?
Sir, as I explained before,
you received a notice...
No, no, no, listen.
You don't understand. I have a workshop.
I have a public presentation
of my musical in 12 hours...
Sir, if you are going to raise your voice...
I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
Look, look, look.
I can pay you over the phone, right now.
- I have my credit card right here...
- The billing office is closed.
I would love to figure it out right now.
The billing office is closed
for the night.
- What am I gonna do?
- Sir, like I've said, call...
- Hello?
- Hey, Beth. Hey.
How are you? It's Jon.
Hi, Jon.
Hi, um... is Susan there?
She doesn't wanna talk to you, Jon.
Sure, sure. Uh...
Well, can you... um...
can you give her a message for me?
- What is it?
- Well, it's just, you know...
I wanted to remind her that tomorrow
is my workshop and you know, I...
I know I don't have any right to ask this.
It's just that...
I would just really love her to be there.
I'll tell her you called.
Here I am.
The musical to which
I have devoted my youth
is about to be put on public display
for every producer in New York.
I haven't written a single note
or a single lyric
of the most important song in the show.
I have no electricity.
My best friend is furious with me.
My girlfriend isn't speaking to me.
And there is only
one thing I can think of to do:
I hate this locker room
Why won't Susan answer my calls?
Sweat, wet, echo
Smell, hell, rap
Pump up the volume
Hot, wet, hot sweat
How's the water?
Stretch, stretch
Spit in the mask
Cloudy vision
Test the water
Contemplate the dive
The shock to the skin
Anticipate the pain, the pain, the pain
The pain, the pain now
One, two, three,
Oh, bite the air, seven
There's that girl
One, two, three
Oh, bite the air
Smooth, soft skin
Two, three
Oh, bite the... Thirteen
Long legs, brown skin and wet hair
Whoa, and wet hair
Has Rosa even listened to my tape?
Kick, stretch, windmill arms
See the hand, point the feet
Wet hair
Relax, this guy's too slow
Can I make it to 40?
Too slow
Touch his heel, move!
Answer my calls!
Red thin stripe
Fifty feet, sixty feet
She looks like Susan
Susan's beautiful
Out, don't think, out, out
Let it out
Keep the shoulder down, down
Easy, not too hard
Find the movement's origin
Hands, no
Shoulder, no
Elbows, no
Lower, from the back
Yes, lower
Thirty-nine, 40
Center, center
Forward motion
Through the water
Come to your senses
- Escape
- Come to your senses
Come to your senses
I am soaring
- I'm the water
- You're on the air
- You as the knight
- I'm underground
Me as the queen
The show is about to begin.
The room is completely empty.
The show is about to begin,
and I am looking
at 60 empty folding chairs.
Hey, boy genius.
I'm turning 30 on Sunday, you know.
Oh, well, happy birthday.
Thank you.
- Thirty's still young, you know.
- No one's here.
Oh. It's not even 9:00.
The presentation doesn't start till 10:00.
That's good.
- Can you sight read?
- Yeah.
Slowly, miraculously,
people start to show up.
- Johnny.
- Be right back.
This is phenomenal.
Look at the space, it's just phenomenal.
- It's a rehearsal studio, Dad.
- It's a Broadway rehearsal studio.
- This is the real thing.
- We're so excited for you, dear.
- Thank you.
- Are they paying you?
- Next time.
- Sure.
- Oh, look, for us.
- No, that's not...
- That's for someone else, actually.
- Mm. Do you like that?
You can literally sit in any other seat.
- Okay. Break a leg.
- Shall we sit there?
- I love you. Thank you.
- I love you.
His hair is ridiculous.
Good turnout.
Yeah, mostly friends.
Mm, what a nightmare.
Thank you... for being here.
Wild horses, Jon. You know that.
- Oh! Okay. Break legs.
- Yeah.
Oh. Thank you. Thank you.
Ira, you son of a gun.
- Jonathan, how are you?
- Rosa.
- Jon Larson.
- Oh, there he is.
Just the man I'm looking for.
You nervous? Don't be nervous.
- Yeah. A little nervous. Sure.
- Of course you're nervous.
The first presentation of your musical is
like having a colonoscopy in Times Square.
Only with a colonoscopy,
the worst thing that could happen
is you find out you have cancer.
With a musical,
you find out you're already dead.
Have a good show.
Can't wait to see what you did.
We can't keep waiting. It's quarter past.
I know. I know. I know.
- Break a leg.
- Okay.
Come here. Thank you.
Hello. Hi, welcome.
I'm Jonathan Larson.
Whoa... Hey, well...
You don't have to do that.
Thank you so much, that was very kind. Uh...
Thank you for being here,
um, this morning.
This is, um...
- That's Stephen Sondheim.
- Right. Like I was saying...
Thank you all for being here.
This is my musical, Superbia,
and I've been working on it for...
a little while now.
And I just really hope you all like it.
Thank you.
And the next hour and a half are a blur.
Everyone who ever has
Or ever will be anyone will be there
Never in the history of entertainment
Will there be an affair quite like it
The event of the century
The quintessential social adventure
We cannot afford to miss
This night of bliss
Everyone who's anyone knows
Everyone who's anyone knows
Everyone who's anyone
Everyone who's anyone knows
Everyone will be there
And then...
Karessa steps forward to sing my new song.
Not even 12 hours old.
I close my eyes.
I brace myself.
I don't dare take a breath.
But when I open my eyes...
I don't see Karessa there.
You're on the air
I'm underground
Signal's fading
Can't be found
I finally open up
For you, I would do anything
But you've turned off the volume
Just when I've begun to sing
Come to your senses
Defenses are not the way to go
And you know, or at least you knew
Can't you recall when this all began
It was only you and me
It was only me and you
I have to laugh
We sure put on a show
Love is pass in this day and age
How can we expect it to grow?
You as the knight
Me as the queen
All I've got tonight
Is static on a screen
Come to your senses
Suspense is fine
If you're just an empty image
Emanating out of a screen
Baby, be real
You can feel again
You don't need a music box melody
To know what I mean
Deep in my eyes
What do you see?
Deep in my sighs
Listen to me
Let the music commence from inside
Not only one sense, but use all five
Come to your senses
Come to your senses
- Come to your senses, yeah
- Come to your senses
Come to your senses
Baby, come back
- Hello?
- Hi, honey, it's Rosa.
Hi, Rosa. Thank you so much for calling.
Well, you already left six messages.
Yeah. Um...
So have you heard anything yet?
Honey, I have heard nothing
but raves all day long.
I'm getting call after call after call.
Okay. Yes! That's great news.
Everyone is telling me the same thing.
"That Jonathan Larson!"
"I can't wait to see what he does next."
What do you mean, what I do next?
What about Superbia?
I always told you, it was a tough sell.
It's too arty for Broadway.
Tourists aren't gonna shell out 50 dollars
to see a show about spaceships and robots.
Um... That's not what it's about. Um...
Well, of course, I know that, Jonathan.
But you know these producers, they care
about one thing and one thing only.
Okay. Uh... So what about Off-Broadway?
It's too expensive for Off.
You got a cast of thousands,
with the special effects...
Uh... Charlie, tell himI'll be on in a sec.
- Listen, sweetie, I gotta run.
- I'm sorry, Rosa...
on a terrific presentation.
Rosa, Rosa, hold on.
So, okay...
So what am I supposed to do now?
You start writing the next one.
And after you finish that one,
you start on the next.
And on and on, and that's
what it is to be a writer, honey.
You just keep throwing them
against the wall
and hoping against hope
that eventually, something sticks.
Little advice from someone who's
been in this business a long, long time?
On the next one, maybe
try writing about what you know.
Okay, kiddo?
Start sharpening those pencils.
Yeah, yeah.
I think let's give it a minute
and see what happens next week.
Hey, I need a job.
- Can you hold on a second?
- I'll apologize to the focus group lady.
I will never say anything bad
about marketing research ever again,
I swear to God.
I'm gonna call you right back.
I wanna do what you do.
I wanna have what you have.
I want the BMW, I want the doorman,
I want it, I want all of it. Okay?
- What's going on?
- Oh, it's good. It's good.
I just spent
the last eight years killing myself
on a musical that's never gonna happen.
I find that very hard to believe.
It was incredible this morning.
Well... But not incredible enough.
I can't do it again, Mike.
I can't stomach five more years
of waiting tables,
five more years of writing things
that no one will ever see
while Broadway just churns out
without a hint of even
the slightest thing original
or, God forbid, something
to actually say about the world!
Are you done?
- No, actually...
- The presentation, Jon, it was amazing.
It would be a tragedy
to give up what you have.
- You did it.
- Please!
I was a mediocre actor.
Do you know how many mediocre actors
there are in New York City?
Do you know how many
Jonathan Larsons there are?
I can't keep wasting my time, Mike.
- I turn 30 in two days.
- And?
And Stephen Sondheim was 27
when he had his first show on Broadway.
Well, guess what? You're not
Stephen Sondheim. Wait a little longer...
I'm not waiting anymore.
I can't keep waiting. This is my life.
- I understand.
- No, you don't. I'm running out of time.
- You are not running out of time.
- You don't know anything about it.
I'm HIV-positive.
- How long have you known?
- A few days.
Who knows?
I might get lucky. People do.
Live a year, longer even.
Anyway, I think I might know
a thing or two about running out of time.
Why didn't you tell me sooner?
You tried.
Jill Kramer returning, line two.
I have to take that.
- Mike...
- I can't talk about this now, please.
Jill. Hey, it's Michael.
Yeah, I just want to see how
the Downy account was going.
I think of the day I met Michael.
It was the first day
at sleep-away camp, 22 years ago.
We were eight.
I think of high school,
all the shows we did together.
Is this real life?
I think of the summer that
our parents decided to stay
in the same town in Cape Cod,
a mile away from each other.
And we'd meet on the beach
every night and, um...
we'd just sit there talking
till three in the morning about our plans.
About how one day we were
gonna move to the city together and...
...find a cheap apartment and be discovered,
and change the world.
Hey, you've reached Susan, Beth...
I think of the first summer
back from college.
We smoked a bowl on Kennedy breakwater
and Michael told me he was gay.
Is this real life?
Is this real life?
I think of our friends, so many.
I think of their funerals.
I think of their parents
not even 50,
saying the Kaddish over their children.
Is this real life?
I think of them
and I think of Michael.
And before I understand
what's happening, I start running.
Is this real life?
Past the pond, past the carousel.
Is this real life?
The ticking is so loud now,
I can't hear anything.
Is this real?
Is this real?
Is this real?
My heartbeat is pounding in my throat.
The wind is shrieking through the trees.
The sky is darkening.
I want it to stop.
I want it all to stop!
When I was nine
Michael and I
Entered a talent show down at the Y
Nine a.m.
Went to rehearse by some stairs
Mike couldn't sing
I said, "No one cares"
We sang "Yellow Bird"
And "Let's Go Fly a Kite"
Over and over and over
Till we got it right
When we emerged
From the YMCA
Three o'clock sun
Had made the grass hay
I thought
Hey, what a way to spend the day
Hey, what a way to spend the day
I make a vow
Right here and now
I'm gonna spend
My time this way
When I was sixteen
Michael and I
Got parts in West Side
At White Plains High
Three o'clock
Went to rehearse in the gym
Mike played Doc
Who did not sing
Fine with him
We sang
"Got a rocket in your pocket"
And "The Jets are gonna
Have their day tonight"
Over and over and over
Till we got it right
When we emerged
Wiped out by that play
Nine o'clock stars
And moon lit the way
I thought, hey
What a way to spend the day
Hey, what a way to spend the day
I made a vow
I wonder now
Am I cut out
To spend my time this way?
I'm twenty-nine
Michael and I
Live on the West Side of SoHo, NY
Nine o'clock, I write a lyric or two
Mike sings his song now on Mad Avenue
I sing, "Come to your senses"
"Defenses are not the way to go"
Over and over and over
And over and over
And over and over
Till I get it right
When I emerge from B Minor or A
Five o'clock, diner calls
I'm on my way
I think, hey
What a way to spend a day
Hey, what a way to spend a day
I make a vow
Right here and now
I'm gonna spend
My time this way
I'm gonna spend
My time this way
Hey. Whatever happens next,
I'm here. I promise.
There's, um... there's a support group,
it's called Friends In Deed.
I just called them.
They have a meeting tomorrow morning.
You look like shit.
I'm so cold.
Come on.
Oh, Mike.
I'm sorry.
My 30th birthday.
Jon? Steve Sondheim here.
Rosa gave me this number,
I hope it's okay to call you.
I didn't get a chance to speak with you
after the reading,
but I just wanted to say
it was really good.
I'd love to get together and talk to
you about it, if you have any interest.
No pressure.
The main thing though, is that
it's first-rate work and has a future.
And so do you.
I'll call you later with some thoughts,
if that's okay.
Meanwhile, be proud.
You know, there was a small...
very, very small piece of me
that was the teensiest bit happy
to hear you're not leaving.
I'd have been sad not
to see you every Sunday morning.
Oh. Cheers.
I told Freddy.
He's pissed off at your agent.
How is he?
- He should be going home soon.
- Really?
Yes. Yes.
- Uh, I'll be... Yeah.
- You go handle that.
- Hi.
- Hi.
I didn't know you were, um...
I wasn't sure whether
you would want me here.
I'm so happy you're here.
So how was the reading? Did anybody...?
- I'm sorry.
- No, it's okay.
- I really wanted to be there. I just...
- Susan...
I know.
What are you gonna do now?
I'm gonna start the next one.
I decided to take the job.
I'm happy for you.
Happy birthday.
Thank you.
You really didn't have to get me anything.
It's for the next one.
Got any ideas?
Just questions.
That seems like
a really good place to start.
Goodbye, Jonathan.
The next one wastick, tick... BOOM!
After that, he went back to a project
he'd started and put away, called Rent.
It ran on Broadway for 12 years.
It changed the definition
of what a musical could be.
What it could sound like.
The kinds of stories it could tell.
Jonathan never got to see it.
The night before Rent's
first public performance, he died...
from a sudden aortic aneurysm.
He was 35 years old.
He still had so many questions.
Why do we play with fire?
Why do we run our finger
Through the flame?
Why do we leave
Our hand on the stove
Although we know
We're in for some pain?
Oh, why do we refuse
To hang a light
When the streets are dangerous?
Why does it take an accident
Before the truth gets through to us?
Cages or wings
Which do you prefer?
Ask the birds
Fear or love, baby
Don't say the answer
Actions speak louder than words
Why should we try to be our best
When we can just get by
And still gain?
Why do we nod our heads
Although we know
The boss is wrong as rain?
Why should we blaze a trail
When the well-worn path
Seems safe and
So inviting?
How, as we travel
Can we see the dismay
And keep from fighting?
Cages or wings
- Cages or wings
- Which do you prefer?
Ask the birds
Fear or love, baby
Don't say the answer
Actions speak louder than words
Louder than, louder than
What does it take
To wake up a generation?
How can you make someone
Take off and fly?
If we don't wake up
And shake up the nation
We'll eat the dust
Of the world wondering why
- Why?
- Why?
Why do we stay with lovers
Who we know, down deep
Just aren't right?
- Would we rather
- Put ourselves through hell
Than sleep alone at night?
Why do we follow leaders
Who never lead?
Why does it take catastrophe
To start a revolution?
If we're so free, tell me why
Someone tell me why
So many people bleed
Cages or wings
- Cages or wings
- Which do you prefer?
Ask the birds
Fear or love, baby
Don't say the answer
Actions speak louder than
Louder than, louder than
Louder than, louder than
Cages or wings
Which do you prefer?
Ask the birds
Fear or love, baby
Don't say the answer
Actions speak louder
Louder than, louder than
They speak louder
Louder than, louder than
Actions speak louder than
Make a wish.
You're on the air
I'm underground
Signal's fading
Can't be found
I finally open up
For you I would do anything
But you've turned off the volume
Just when I've begun to sing
Come to your senses
Defenses are not the way to go
And you know
Or at least you knew
Everything's strange, you've changed
And I don't know what to do
To get through
I don't know what to do
I have to laugh
You sure put on a show
Love is pass in this day and age
How can we expect it to grow?
You as the knight
Me as the queen
All I've got tonight
Is static on a screen
Come to your senses
The fences inside are not for real
If we feel as we did, and I do
Can't you recall when this all began
It was only you and me
It was only me and you
But now the air is
Filled with confusion
We replace care with illusion
How come it's cool to be cold
When nothing lasts anymore
When love becomes disposable
This is the shape of things
We cannot ignore
Come to your senses
Suspense is fine
If you're just an empty image
Emanating out of a screen
Baby, be real, you can feel again
You don't need a music box melody
To know what I mean
So come to your senses
Will you come to your senses
Yeah, come to your senses
Come to your senses
Deep, dark velvet hugs your silhouette
Black silk stockings, you're my Juliet
Soft long hair
Baby, beautiful blue eyes
Cool me down before I jump
Into your thighs
The green, green dress
Twenty buttons and a strap
The green, green dress
What a pleasure to unwrap
Green dress, oh what it can do
What the green, green dress
Does to me on you
Me on you
Let's find a chair
Where we can sit and talk
Or get some fresh air
Maybe we could take a walk
Tell me what you're thinkin'
Talk about your day
Tell me what to do
I'll do anything you say
Yeah, the green, green dress
Twenty buttons and a strap
- The green, green dress
- What a pleasure to unwrap
The green dress, oh what it can do
- What the green, green dress
- Does to me on you
- Me on you
- You
Can I hear you laugh, babe?
Can you make me smile?
I'll forget what's on my mind
For a while
Can I tie you up, love?
If you tell me yes
I'll unbutton every button
Down your green, green
The green, green dress
Twenty buttons and a strap
The green, green dress
What a pleasure to unwrap
Green dress, oh what it can do
- What the green, green dress
- Does to me on you
- Me on you
- You
- Me on the green, green dress
- Green, green dress
- Me on the green, green dress
- Green, green dress
- Me on you
- You
The green, green dress
The green, green dress
- The green, green dress
- Green, green dress
The green, green dress
One, two...
"Almost missed this one," he said
I stared at the honky-tonk piano
Sure beats living in town
The beach is a half a mile away
"Not much of the cat," I said
He stared down underneath the couch
It doesn't matter much to me
Not gonna beat it anyway
It only takes a few cents more
To go first class
First class only takes a few
It only takes a few cents more
To go first class
First class only takes a few