All puns are intended at this point, so be prepared and keep up.
First and foremost, if you have not read the script, listened to the songs, or been lucky enough to go see the show, please go do that. Right now. You won't regret it. Go to the closest bookstore, pick up a copy. Find the album on Spotify, Apple Music, whatever you stream off. (I recommend buying a copy of the script and listening to the songs as they appear). Good for you, now you can start hoping the show will come to a theater near you soon like the rest of us!
Ok, now that that's out of the way, let's just start by saying "Wow!" I don't know if you were ready for that going into it, but I was not. A whole tissue box later and here we are. Steven Levenson really outdid himself with Dear Evan Hansen along with Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's heart-wrenchingly beautiful music. All of which allowed the original cast to give this musical everything it needed to bring such justice to this story and to this emotional journey for everyone involved. After watching countless interviews, the vocal and emotional rigor this show demands emphasizes the magnificent performances and talents of these actors.
Now I must admit, I discovered Dear Evan Hansen a bit late in the game, but I had been aware of it as more and more talk of it came out. Of course, I had listened to a few songs before reading the script for the first time and were blown away by those. But it had always disappeared into the background and I never fully gave it the full attention it deserved until I chose to pick it up one day off a shelf at Barnes & Noble. Hands down one of the best decisions I've made this year. I couldn't have found this musical at a more perfect time.
One of the most rewarding experiences, I have found, is discovering something and indulging yourself in it with no expectations and being amazed at whatever you take away from it. Going into Dear Evan Hansen I didn't know much about the plot or musical aside from certain songs or discussions I had heard. This choice was so small but the rewards were so big. This musical immensely stresses the importance of its themes, its emotions, its messages about social media and anxiety and depression and death and guilt and family and love.
It's been three weeks since I finished reading and listening to the whole musical. It truly is a challenge to stop myself from listening to the soundtrack for forever. Songs are always stuck in my head and it's been my top music choice ever since. Aside from the brilliance of the music, the story itself has not stopped waving through my thoughts.
The reality, the emotions, the thoughts, the pain are all raw and real and relevant and beautiful and necessary. I could write pages upon pages or talk for hours on how much this musical impacted me and how much it left me with to think about, to feel about. But one of the main aspects of Dear Evan Hansen that has and will continue to stick with me is the focus that was highlighted throughout the story about the significance of a life: how people view and feel about their life, how significant (or insignificant) they feel in comparison to others, how much they feel they matter in the grand scheme of things, how their life is impacting others, how the reality of their life or another's life may appear different than everyone had once thought.
Truthfully, there will be something that hits home for everyone. Whether that's aspects of the show dealing with parenting, mental illnesses, friendships, grief, awkward crushes, social media, feeling lost or invisible. This story is incredibly well-rounded and full of discussions on topics or aspects of life that are commonly brushed under the rug. It's time to start breaking those conversations in and feeling comfortable with the discomfort these sensitive topics can involve, but they're necessary to have and Dear Evan Hansen is opening the door to them and shining a much-needed light on them.
I'm not alone in saying that Dear Evan Hansen is something that I never knew I needed until I experienced it. And it will always be time for more and more people to discover it and experience its important story as well.
Now I'm going to stop rambling on because I feel like my words fail to articulate how amazing this musical is and how immense of an impact it leaves. But it is only the beginning of discussions about Dear Evan Hansen from me, even if they're just in my head or with those who care to listen, this story is not going to disappear anymore from my attention. If you ever see me with headphones in, I am most likely listening to this soundtrack (highly recommend it, if I haven't gotten my point across enough yet). And of course, I couldn't resist the greatest pun of all to end this article so until next time…