Dear Evan Hansen Broadway Musical

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Dear Evan Hansen Broadway the Musical – Review

Dear Evan Hansen is a poignant reflection of life as an outsider, and the drive to be popular. Both comedic and touching, the show cleverly incorporates classic musical elements. What happens when a lonely and desperate teen gets the chance to achieve a glimmer of popularity? The show explores the depth of despair that can exist in high school students and the almost universal desire to fit in. With the inclusion of social media, the story behind Dear Evan Hansen is a well-crafted and modern tale.

Dear Evan Hansen is a shy and neurotic loner who finds himself with a broken arm and a therapist appointment just before the new school year begins. His therapist urges him to write himself a letter as a reminder to stay positive, and Evan does just that. However, this letter is the catalyst that propels Evan into the center of another family’s tragedy…whilst offering him at a shot at popularity. The show also incorporates Evan’s relationships with his caring but busy mother and a popular love interest.

The musical is sometimes sad, sometimes funny, and sometimes almost satirical. Cleverly, the musical interludes offer insight into Evan that he often can’t provide to others due to his social anxiety. The musical also boasts an excellent score was written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The pair, who created the lyrics for multiple Oscar nominee La La Land, bring drama and light to this heartbreaker of a play. The acting in Dear Evan Hansen is also impeccable, with Pitch Perfect’s Ben Platt shining in the lead role. While the comedy provides some light relief, there’s no denying that this musical really tugs at the audience’s heartstrings.

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Dear Evan Hansen Broadway NYC

Theater: Music Box Theatre
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (1 intermission)
Starring: Ben Platt, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Rachel Bay Jones

Dear Evan Hansen – Act 1

Evan Hansen, a teenager who struggles with crippling social anxiety, writes a hopeful letter to himself as an assignment from his therapist before the first day of his senior year. His mother Heidi, a busy nurse’s aid who attends law school at night, attempts to connect with him but struggles to find common ground with her son. She tells him to make new friends by asking people to sign the cast on his arm, since he had broken it by falling out of a large tree over the summer. Across town, the wealthy Murphy family – Cynthia, Larry, and their children Zoe and Connor – sit down to breakfast. Zoe and Larry berate Connor for getting high before school, while Cynthia struggles with the fact that her family is falling apart.

The two mothers wonder simultaneously how to connect with their sons (“Anybody Have A Map?”).

At school, Evan encounters Alana, an ambitious student obsessed with getting into a good college, and Jared, the son of a family friend and the closest thing Evan has to a friend. Both notice his broken arm, but neither one takes Evan up on his offer to sign his cast. Evan has a rough encounter with Connor, prompting Zoe, Evan’s longtime crush, to apologize on her brother’s behalf. Evan wonders if this is his destiny – to be ignored and an outcast for the rest of his life (“Waving Through A Window”).

Evan writes himself another letter, this time about how he’s given up on it being a good year and wondering if anyone would notice if he wasn’t there. He remarks that all his hope is now pinned on Zoe, even though he doesn’t know her. While printing out the letter in the school’s computer lab, he once again runs into Connor, who is more subdued than he was that morning. He offers to sign Evan’s cast, musing that maybe now they can both pretend they have friends. He reads Evan’s letter, which he had picked up off the printer, and storms out in a fury after seeing the mention of Zoe because he thinks Evan meant it to hurt him.

A few days later, Evan is freaking out because Connor has not returned to school and still has Evan’s letter. He is called to the principal’s office, where Connor’s parents are waiting to meet him. They tell Evan that Connor had committed suicide a few days before, with Evan’s letter in his pocket. Believing it to be Connor’s suicide note, they ask Evan if he and Connor were close, as Connor had never mentioned having friends before. Not wanting to further their grief, Evan agrees to go to their house to talk about Connor. He confides all this in Jared, who advises him to keep quiet and deny that he and Connor were friends. Instead, Evan begins to fabricate an intricate story of his and Connor’s friendship after seeing how distraught Cynthia is over the loss of her son. He tells them a fictional version of the day he broke his arm in which Connor was with him the entire day (“For Forever”). Evan claims that he and Connor kept up a secret email correspondence, and enlists Jared’s help in creating Connor’s side of the conversations (“Sincerely, Me”).

Meanwhile, Heidi reminds Evan that he needs to begin applying for college scholarships, but Evan is too distracted by his fake friendship with Connor to take her very seriously. She mentions hearing about Connor’s death, but Evan tells her the truth- they weren’t close. After showing the Murphys Connor’s “emails”, Cynthia is ecstatic that her son had a friend, but Larry is more hurt that Connor took his family and his privileged life for granted. Zoe, who was never close to Connor, refuses to show grief because she truly does not miss him due to his abusive behavior towards her (“Requiem”). However, after reading the suicide note, Zoe notices that she is mentioned and asks Evan if Connor ever spoke about her. Evan, unable to tell her the truth, tells her all the reasons he loves her, but pretends that Connor said them (“If I Could Tell Her”). Overcome with emotion, he kisses Zoe, but she throws him out angrily.

Evan notices that people are starting to forget about Connor, and wants to prevent what happened to him from happening to anyone else. Spurred on by his perceived spirit of Connor, Evan enlists Alana and Jared’s help in founding “The Connor Project” – an organization dedicated to keeping Connor’s memory alive and helping those like him. The three pitch the idea to the Murphys, who agree to support the project (“Disappear”). At the official launch of the Connor Project, Evan gives an inspiring speech about his loneliness and friendship with Connor, which goes viral after it is posted online. Zoe, overcome by the impact her brother and Evan have had on people, kisses him (“You Will Be Found”).

“Anybody Have a Map?” – Heidi, Cynthia
“Waving Through a Window” – Evan
“For Forever” – Evan
“Sincerely, Me” – Connor, Evan, Jared
“Requiem” – Zoe, Cynthia, Larry
“If I Could Tell Her” – Evan, Zoe
“Disappear” – Connor, Evan, Alana, Jared, Larry, Cynthia, Zoe
“You Will Be Found” – Company

Dear Evan Hansen – Act 2

Evan and Alana pitch a fundraising idea on The Connor Project’s official website – they want to raise $50,000 in three weeks to reopen the abandoned apple orchard that Evan and Connor supposedly spent time in, in memory of Connor. Evan, spurred on by his new relationship with Zoe and his newfound family with the Murphys, begins to neglect his mother, Jared, and the Connor Project (“Sincerely, Me (Reprise)”).

While spending time at the Murphys, Evan bonds with Larry and confides in him that his father left when he was young and no longer keeps in touch with him or Heidi (“To Break in a Glove”). While spending time at his house, Evan makes an offhand comment to Zoe about how he and his mother don’t have much money, so he will have to work hard to earn scholarships so he can go to college. When he begins to mention Connor, Zoe tells him that she doesn’t want their relationship to be about Connor, but about the two of them (“Only Us”).

Evan gets in a fight with Jared, who claims that Connor dying was the best thing that ever happened to Evan – he is no longer invisible, and landed the girl of his dreams. Later on, Evan goes to the Murphys only to discover that Zoe had invited Heidi for dinner. Heidi, who had no idea that Evan had spent time at the Murphys, is mortified when Larry and Cynthia offer to use the money that they had set aside for Connor’s college fund to send Evan to school instead. After returning home, Heidi and Evan fight, and Heidi angrily points out that the Murphys are not Evan’s family – she is. Evan fires back that the Murphys are actually there for him, and take care of him since she’s never around. Heidi tearfully berates him for running off to his shiny new family, while Alana begins to catch on to inconsistencies in the fake emails Evan “received” from Connor and begins to suspect that the whole thing is a scam. Evan, beginning to panic, asks Jared to help him clear up the inaccuracies, but Jared refuses to help him now that his life is so great (“Good For You”).

Evan considers coming out and telling the truth, but Connor guilts him out of it. Instead, he sends a copy of the suicide note to Alana, hoping that it will get her off his back. Inspired, she publishes it without his permission, and it once again goes viral. Evan is distraught, and goes to see the Murphys, who have become the targets of hateful comments from people who believe that they were responsible for Connor’s death. He walks in on the three of them fighting about why Connor really killed himself, and admits that he fabricated the entire thing because he was scared of losing the family he had found with them (“Words Fail”).

Evan finds Heidi waiting for him at home, who saw the letter online and immediately knew that it was one of Evan’s therapy assignments. She apologizes for not seeing how badly he was hurting, and he admits to her that he didn’t actually fall out of the tree the past summer – he was feeling so broken and alone that he deliberately let go in hopes that the fall would kill him. Heidi sits him down and recalls the day that his father moved out, and how she felt so small and alone and didn’t know how she was going to make it by herself. In the end, however, she realized that she wasn’t alone: she had Evan, and knew that the two of them could make it through anything as long as they were together. Tearfully, she promises that she’ll always be there for him when he needs her (“So Big/So Small”).

A year later, Evan is still living at home, working at Pottery Barn to save enough money to go to college the next semester. He contacts Zoe, whom he has not seen since she found out the truth, asking if she will agree to meet him. She does, but insists that they meet at the orchard that has been reopened in Connor’s memory. He apologizes for the pain he caused her family, and admits that he has been reading Connor’s ten favorite books after finding a list in an old yearbook in an attempt to connect with who he really was. He also thanks her and her parents for keeping his secret – they never told anyone else that his friendship with Connor was a lie. She forgives him, and says that the whole ordeal has brought her family closer together, because “everyone needed it for something.” Evan asks her why she insisted on meeting at the orchard, and she replies that she wanted to be sure he saw it. Evan mentally writes himself one last letter, reflecting on the impact he has had on his community and his hope that he will inspire others, finally accepting himself (“Finale”).[1]

“Sincerely, Me” (Reprise)**– Connor, Jared
“To Break In A Glove” – Larry, Evan
“Only Us” – Zoe, Evan
“Good For You” – Heidi, Alana, Jared, Evan, Connor
“Words Fail” – Evan
“So Big/So Small” – Heidi
“Finale” – Company

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