- Stephen Sondheim rerecorded a voicemail in “Tick, Tick … Boom!” after switching up the script.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda said the Broadway composer thought the original version “a little cliché.”
- Miranda called Sondheim’s rewrite of the scene “more specific and beautiful.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda revealed that Stephen Sondheim personally wrote the script for and recorded a crucial voicemail in “Tick, Tick … Boom!” because he thought the original version was “a little cliché.”
The legendary Broadway composer died on Friday at 91. Sondheim’s lawyer confirmed to the New York Times that he had died at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut.
Weeks before Sondheim’s death, Miranda told the New Yorker in a November profile that Sondheim had thanked the “Hamilton” creator in an email for portraying the composer “very gently and royally” in the Netflix film, where he is played by actor Bradley Whitford.
Sondheim, however, did have one note on the screenplay.
Throughout “Tick, Tick … Boom!,” composer Jonathan Larson (Andrew Garfield) is repeatedly shown idolizing Sondheim. At the very end, Sondheim leaves Larson a voicemail congratulating him on the showcase of his musical “Superbia.”
Miranda recounted how Sondheim told him in an email after a private screening, “The last voicemail message to Jon, it sounds a little cliché. ‘I have a feeling you’re going to have a very bright future.’ I would never say that. Can I please rewrite what Sondheim says in the voicemail? I’ll record it if you can’t get the actor back.’ “
In Sondheim’s version of the voicemail to Larson in “Tick, Tick … Boom!,” Sondheim says: “It’s first-rate work and has a future, and so do you. I’ll call you later with some thoughts, if that’s OK. Meanwhile, be proud.”
Miranda explained that he had no plans to turn down “a Sondheim rewrite,” which he described as “more specific and beautiful” than the original script of the voicemail.
He continued that he “took a gamble” by having Sondheim himself record the new version of the voicemail instead of Whitford, because by the end of the movie, the viewers hadn’t heard Whitford speak out loud in over an hour.
“Every step of the way. I showed [Sondheim] the scenes in which he was depicted,” Miranda added. “I let him know when Bradley Whitford was cast, and he said, ‘I don’t know who that is, but he has a name like a Jane Austen character, and I love it.'”
Sondheim’s career in musical theater spanned almost seven decades. He is credited with having created some of the most iconic Broadway musicals like “West Side Story,” “Company,” “Follies,” “Sweeney Todd,” and “Sunday in the Park with George.”