While I was home for Winter break, there was only one show I was desperate to see before returning to SMU, “Dear Evan Hansen”. I was lucky enough to go to the show this past Thursday and I was blown away. I was as amazed as when I saw “Hamilton”; “Dear Evan Hansen” is just that good. It’s an emotional story that captures very real human emotions.
The plot of “Dear Evan Hansen” is difficult to explain without giving anything away. I’ll spare you the spoilers and say that Evan Hansen is a Senior in High School who gets wrapped up in a lie, despite his good intentions. Ben Platt (of “Pitch Perfect”) plays the title character which is an extremely challenging role. The quirky and troubled Evan Hansen has many incomprehensible emotions that Platt successfully conveys to the audience, even making it humorous. Despite the small cast of seven, the characters feel real. The show is relatable because I had met and been these characters before, in one form or another. “Dear Evan Hansen” is not your typical Broadway show, it's a story about real life.
The music was fantastic, its roots are in pop, not in show tunes. The songs were just as uplifting as they were heartbreaking. Ben Platt had a wonderful voice that was only further supported from the other cast. My favorite songs in the show were “Waving through a Window”, “For Forever” and “You Will Be Found”. When the cast recording comes out on February 3rd, I’ll have it on repeat.
If the set design doesn’t win a Tony, I’ll be majorly disappointed. Instead of backdrops, the stage is a series of moving screens which display images from social media. Not only does the set compliment the characters’ story but also it tells a story on its own. The use of social media in this show proves just how connected, yet shattered we can be. We’re making connections all the time, but sometimes they’re fabricated.
Very rarely you will find a show that is not merely for entertainment. “Dear Evan Hansen” made me reflect about myself and the different relationships I have. Everyone will walk away from it feeling something different, but I can guarantee that you will be deeply touched and moved by this once in a lifetime musical.