We all have a darkness in us, to which life is a journey about finding and empowering the light we have within us ourselves. Dear Evan Hansen is a musical about a young man whose yearning for attention and love is universal. This Broadway Hit goes beyond the stereotypes of being a “nerd” or socially introverted to show the nuances that come with wanting to be cared for by a world that does not always care for itself.
When I say “care” you might think of the tenderness we show to others, but Dear Evan Hansen is also about the “care” we show in loving ourselves. Evan (played wonderfully by Ben Platt) does not like himself at ALL. In the beginning of the show, he even has to write therapy prescribed letters to himself to say that he is alright and worth something. Platt makes Evan gut-wrenchingly noble, compassionate, and sensitive, despite the mistakes he will make throughout the show. There is not one moment in the musical that you do not feel protective over Evan, even against himself. His kindness and yearning for kindness makes you understand his motives and want to step in to say Evan you are worth THE WORLD! Hence, my firm belief that Dear Evan Hansen is and will be a continuous hit because as the audience relates to Evan, the story’s plots and themes of finding one’s self-worth feels personal. Is that a “sappy” reason? Maybe. Yet, this show is all about sentimentality and human sensitivity.
Through a fateful encounter, Evan is confused for being the only “friend” of his bully, Connor Murphy (Mike Faist), before he killed himself. Suddenly, the young man, who no one looked at or thought his stutter strange and stupid, is made the only answer as to why this young man committed suicide. He goes from “no one” to “everyone” throughout the course of the show, making decisions, based on lies, as he was clearly not his bully’s friend. Yet, as he meets Connor’s family, who includes his crush and Connor’s sister, Zoe (played endearingly by Laura Dreyfuss), the love and attention he has been seeking makes him flourish . He grows confident in his newfound fame, while developing new insecurites over, again, its basis in a lie. Connor was not the kind, generous kid suffering alone, he was a self-absorbed one, who though also alone, did not have too many great qualities to fix that. Still, this show is about finding the light in people worth sharing before it extinguishes out of loneliness.
While people are fawning over the music of Dear Evan, which is okay, I believe it is its fresh scenarios and the starring role of Ben Platt that is captivating audiences. He guides the cast in making sure the story that, with a lesser cast, does not dwindle into gimmicks such as, “we should all love each other” and “don’t judge a book by its cover”, and turns into a richer look into social alienation. While Broadway can feel, at times, stale in its attempts to modernize classic themes and sets, Dear Evan is one of the few Broadway hits that feels present and universal. Social media, bullying, depression and suicide are all common themes of this era, of which there is no prominent idea on how to handle its issues. While Dear Evan Hansen may not have the solutions, it does add newer nuances to the growing discussion. Yet, it is the humanity of this musical/ cast that makes it refreshing to experience and one that could be seen again. For More Information On Dear Evan Hansen The Musical Click Here.