Interview: Josh Whitten, Actor (tick, tick…BOOM!)

Image supplied

How would you describe tick, tick…BOOM? What would you say this musical is about?

I would say tick, tick…BOOM! is a rock musical with a lot of heart, humour and honesty. It revolves around the main character Jon and his pursuit to write the next big Broadway hit. He struggles with feeling lost and stagnant as both his girlfriend, Susan, and his best friend, Michael, have seemingly ‘grown up’ and moved forward with their lives and careers.

You’re playing the character of Michael – can you tell me a bit about Michael?

Michael has given up his dreams of becoming an actor to live a life with financial stability on Wall Street. He is Jon’s best friend and whilst they are at two very different points in their lives and careers, Michael is Jon’s voice of reason and his sounding board.

What has the process of embodying that character been like for you?

I’ve found it quite liberating. Michael very much knows who he is as a person and is very comfortable within himself. He is a gay man and the way the show is written, there is nothing stereotypically “gay” about him; he is a human that lives and exists in the world, who just happens to be gay. That gives me, the actor, freedom to just be and bring myself to the character as I’m not trying to wade through clichés or fight against a narrow-minded depiction of a member of the LGBTQIA+ community – which can be somewhat of a rarity in theatre.

The cast of tick, tick…BOOM! (L-R): Stephanie Long, Chris White, Josh Whitten, Henry Kafoa. Image supplied by THAT Production Company

What has been the most challenging part of your involvement with this show?

Michael goes through an incredibly emotional journey throughout the show that all comes to a head in one of the last scenes of the show. Navigating that has been quite difficult and challenging, finding the nuances and not making predictable choices. With the guidance and support of my incredible cast and creative team, especially Timothy Wynn (Director) and Luke Volker (Musical Director), I’ve felt safe enough, and brave enough, to explore that emotion and be very vulnerable.

What has been the most rewarding, or your favourite part?

At its very core this show deals with that existential question – is this all worth it? As an actor who has had hardly any work since the pandemic began, I too asked myself that question over and over again. But doing this show again, being in a rehearsal room with creative minds and telling stories, singing incredible music – that’s absolutely worth the wait and has been oh so rewarding!

Do you have a favourite moment, line, or song from the show?

Listening to Steph Long belt out ‘Come To Your Senses’ with our amazing band is hands down my favourite moment in the show – it’s worth the ticket price alone! My favourite line is “And now that I have ripped out your heart like a piece of ripe fruit, I’ll leave you to sweep up the fragments of your shattered dreams…”

Who do you think would enjoy this show? Who should come along and see it?

If you love RENT; you’ll love this show. If you love a good rock score; you’ll love this show. If you love honest, intimate storytelling; you’ll love this show. It really is just an entertaining night out.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Support local, independent theatre!

tick, tick…BOOM is playing at Ipswich Civic Centre from 28 – 30 October 2021.

For ticketing and further information, visit THAT Production Company’s website

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