Who was Jonathan Larson’s girlfriend as Tick, Tick… Boom premieres?

Amber Peake

The film adaptation of Rent creator Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick… Boom! musical has finally landed on Netflix. Directed by broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda, the film is inspired by Larson’s autobiographical stage show of the same name.

As Tick, Tick… Boom! features the role of Susan as the girlfriend of the Jonathan Larson like character, some are curious to know if he had a girlfriend in real life. We explore the late composer’s dating life.

"tick, tick...BOOM!" New York Premiere
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Is Susan in Tick Tick Boom real?

No. While the film features a character named after Jonathan Larson himself Tick, Tick… Boom! is a semi-autobiographical musical meaning, not all the characters are real.

Ahead of the film’s premiere on Netflix on Friday (19 November), its director Lin-Manuel Miranda spoke out on topic as he also revealed Michael is also not the name of the composer’s best friend either.

Miranda told the Radio Times: “Jonathan gave us several gifts in writing Tick, Tick… Boom! Even in his original drafts, they were always semi-autobiographical. Susan’s not really the name of his girlfriend, Michael is not really the name of his best friend.”



Who was Jonathan Larson’s girlfriend in real life?

Jonathan Larson died in 1996 before Tick, Tick… Boom! went to stage. At the time, playwright David Auburn reconstructed the then solo show to feature three main characters.

According to Vox, the character of Michael was based on Larson’s real-life friend Matt O’Grady while Susan was inspired by a dancer he was dating when he tried staging another of his shows, Superbia.

Not much is known about Larson’s girlfriend of the time, however, Lin-Manuel Miranda admitted he has met both her and Matt O’Grady. Before Hamilton’s release, Miranda did an eight-month run of Tick, Tick, Boom! and during the time, met the real-life inspirations of the characters.

Miranda explained to AVClub: “But my biggest takeaway from that production was actually how amazing it was to meet all the real-life inspirations in Jonathan’s life who are still alive. His best friend, Matt O’Grady, on whom Michael was based, is still around. His girlfriend was there, his family was there.”

Who else did Jonathan Larson date?

Jonathan Larson has also been linked to cinematographer Victoria Leacock. As per The Culture Critic, the two were briefly “lovers” but remained close friends over the years as they worked alongside each other.

The two first crossed paths as drama students at Adelphi University in New York during rehearsals for a production of Godspell. Leacock opened up on their friendship in a recent interview with CBC Radio.

She explained: “I just knew that he was going to be my first love. We had the sweetest romance the first half of that year and then after arguing about a movie or something in January, we just became close friends.”