Discovering Dear Evan Hansen
“A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in.”
Dear Evan Hansen is Broadway’s latest hit musical, and people are clamoring for tickets. The musical breaks down into two acts and features music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The duo, collectively known as Pasek and Paul, are well known for their work on the film La La Land and will have music featured in the upcoming live-action adaptation of Aladdin. The musical stars Ben Platt, of Pitch Perfect and Book of Mormon, as the titular character Evan Hansen.
Evan Hansen is a senior in high school who suffers from severe social anxiety. The musical opens on the first day of high school and the audience is quickly introduced to Evan’s mother, Heidi, and his classmates Alana Beck and Jared Kleinman. The audience is also introduced to the Murphy family, consisting of Cynthia and Larry and their two children, Zoe and Conner.
The lives of the Hansen and Murphy families intertwine and connect through a pivotal and tragic event. And through this, the audience bears witness to Evan’s struggle to fit in with his peers. Pasek explains the musical as a story that “takes the notion of a teenager, … Evan Hansen, who invents an important role for himself in a tragedy that he did not earn.”
With such a captivating story, it’s not unreasonable to see why this is such a standout musical. With a relatable theme of the desire to fit in and the subject of mental illness, many members of the audience have seen themselves in these beloved characters. These sentiments were summed up neatly by Time Magazine:
“Dear Evan Hansen, thanks for finding us. We’ve been waiting for a musical like you. This heart-scorching musical about the struggle to connect feels like a hallmark of this particular moment in history. It’s an old-school interactive experience in which you show up in person and sit very close to whomever you came with. It’s a visceral exchange, one that feels primal and rare.”
So, it’s no surprise that the musical picked up six out of nine awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (for Pasek & Paul), and Best Leading Actor (for Platt) at the 71st Tony Awards this past June. The show first previewed November 14, 2016, and first opened December 4, 2016. It has not lost its momentum since. No longer just confined to New York’s Music Box Theatre, the show will tour the United States beginning October 2018 in Denver, at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Buell Theatre. Future dates, casting, and a full itinerary of locations have yet to be reported, although the cities of Los Angeles and Chicago have been announced.
As the show moves on, so does leading man Platt. He recently announced on his, personal Twitter that he signed a deal with Atlantic Records to release his own original music. The actor’s final bow will take place November 19, leaving room for Taylor Trensch to enter the acclaimed role.
For more information about the musical, visit the official website or Playbill’s official website. The soundtrack for Dear Evan Hansen is available on Spotify, iTunes, and Google Play.