I have always loved anything that involves musical theater; the stories, the costumes, the dancing, and the music inspire me. Each and every musical has the ability to transport people to different worlds and different scenarios in life. I see them as a way to connect with others, as well as a way to connect with the entire world through music. One musical however has had an amazing impact on my life and the way that I view the world and other people. That musical is "Dear Evan Hansen".
"Dear Evan Hansen" follows the life of Evan Hansen, a high school senior struggling with social anxiety, who finds himself caught in a web of lies after the death of a classmate. What sets this musical apart is the way in which "Dear Evan Hansen" addresses issues that need to be brought forward, like social anxiety, depression, and suicide. This musical brings these struggles into the light. The musical shows how important it is to face social anxiety in a truthful way, without glorifying or dismissing the problem, which tends to happen a lot in the culture of today.
"Dear Evan Hansen" is one of the first pieces of media with an accurate representation of social anxiety, without the added "quirks." Ben Platt, who plays Evan, portrays such a raw vulnerability that is both powerful and accurate, one that shows the pain that really comes with this kind of anxiety. He doesn't show just social awkwardness, which is seen as "cute" or "funny", but rather he shows the truly uncomfortable nature behind anxiety, showing the mannerisms that are very common in those who have anxiety, from biting his nails to poor posture. These are signs of social anxiety that are very telling within a person. Ben Platt shows the true pain that a person with anxiety may be feeling. His acting choices show the severity of social anxiety, presented in a way that is both accurate and truthful while not being fake or overly dramatic. This way shows the reality behind it.
The message of the musical is also one that needs to be shared with everyone. The song "Waving Through A Window" is a song that really has changed my outlook on life, however. It is sung by Evan Hansen, as he is watching everyone ignore him, and he expresses his feelings of loneliness and desperation. It shows the sadness that he feels in a way that people everywhere are able to relate to in some way or another. Songs like "Disappear" and "You Will Be Found" show the importance of knowing that you are not alone in life and that no one deserves to be forgotten. These songs are the brilliance behind the story because through the lyrics it shows how anxiety and depression can crush someone but other songs show there is hope. Through these songs, the overall message of the musical is portrayed: who you are is enough.
The use of words is a recurring theme that is very significant throughout the show. Evan writes himself letters in a sort of treatment that his psychologist had recommended: a way to be grounded to life and to the world around him. Words are also used as a part of the staging and set of the show, shown in a way that reflects social media and the impact that it has on a person.
"Dear Evan Hansen" is so much more than just a Broadway musical. It is a magnificent story that addresses problems everyone will have at some point in their life. It addresses depression, suicide, the death of a loved one, social anxiety and so much more. It is something that everyone should experience in some way
"Today is going to be a good day and here's why. Because today, today at least you're you and that's enough."