This past weekend I had the pleasure of seeing the smash hit musical that is sweeping Broadway this season, Dear Evan Hansen. This show is easily the most powerful piece of musical theatre I have ever seen. From the music and lyrics, to the script, to the choreography and blocking, to the amazing themes of the musical, there is no reason this musical won't be a huge success.
The show focuses on a seventeen year old boy named Evan Hansen who has crippling social anxiety. He humorously states at the top of the show that he was hesitant to order pizza because the interaction with the pizza delivery guy would be too much stress for him so he just doesn't eat for the night.
Actor Ben Platt plays the title role, Evan Hansen. Ben is 23 years old and he lost about 30 pounds to play the role of a socially awkward 17 year old in Dear Evan Hansen.
The plot of the show is complex and extremely hard to put into words without giving the ending away so SPOILER ALERT!!!! The title character, Evan, is prescribed by his therapist to write letters to himself to better his anxiety and overall mental health. He starts each letter with "Dear Evan Hansen,...". One day while in the computer lab at his school, Evan printed out one of these letters in which he confesses his love for a girl in his school named Zoe Murphy and he says some things about his mental health.This letter gets uncovered by Zoe Murphy's brother Connor who confiscates it. The next day Evan is called into the principals office where Connors family tells him that Connor killed himself last night and the only thing on his person was the letter. The family is led to believe that Connor wrote his suicide note to Evan Hansen and that he and Connor were secret best friends.
Evan realizes that if he lies and says that he was friends with the dead Connor Murphy, then everybody would start being his friend, he would get the girl, and get the family he's always wanted, so he follows along until in act 2 when he spent an entire year lying to all his friends and family when he breaks down and tells Connors family with an emotional power ballad called "Words Fail".
I have never seen any piece of theatre in my entire life that made me so emotionally involved as this scene. This scene had me ugly-crying at the edge of my seat at the Music Box Theatre on 45th street. Ben Platt sobs when telling the family and sings a full solo song all by himself, not many people can do that.
I think this show is the most culturally aware and important show of my generation. It focuses on issues that need to be focused on like preventing teen suicide, and addressing mental health.
Now that Dear Evan Hansen is a 9 time Tony nominated production on broadway I strongly suggest that everyone so see this show, or download the cast recording album on iTunes or GooglePlay.
Support some of the organizations they highlight on their website at dearevanhansen.com including the Trevor Project, Lady Gagas Born This Way Foundation, Child Mind Institute, and many more!!!
Photo Source: Taken by me, Joseph Vasquez at the Music Box Theatre seeing Dear Evan Hansen