If you’re a theater person or love Broadway, you know this show. And for those of you who don’t know about Dear Evan Hansen, here’s why you should.
Dear Evan Hansen is a Broadway musical that focuses on Evan Hansen, a high school senior who struggles with social anxiety disorder. The show follows him through the chaos after the suicide of a fellow student, and how it changes his life. Dear Evan Hansen talks about mental health, suicide, friendship, and teen romance. For a full show synopsis, click here.
This show is emotional, real, and talks about mental health and suicide in a way that I haven’t really seen on Broadway. It shows the reality of how people deal with someone’s suicide, especially on the family’s part. (And no, I really don’t count 13 Reasons Why as a good example of how people deal with suicide, considering the mess of reasons behind Hannah’s death.) Dear Evan Hansen also shows the difficulties both of living with a mental health issue and understanding it. The closest examples of shows like Dear Evan Hansen that I personally can think of are Spring Awakening and Next to Normal. Which makes some sense, considering that Dear Evan Hansen is directed by Next to Normal director Michael Greif.
This show has an amazingly talented cast, featuring Tony winners Ben Platt as Evan Hansen and Rachel Bay Jones as Heidi Hansen, and Tony nominee Mike Faist as Connor Murphy. Other standouts include Laura Dreyfuss as Zoe Murphy.
Dear Evan Hansen was nominated this year for nine Tony awards, six of which they received: including Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Platt), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Jones), and Best Orchestrations.
The soundtrack for this show is amazing. It’s so evident how special and talented not just the cast, but the songwriters (and musicians!) are. The amount of effort poured into every aspect of the music is clear, resulting in a well crafted cast album. Dear Evan Hansen was musically directed by Hamilton musical director Alex Lacamoire, who is a three-time recipient of the Best Orchestrations Tony Award (Evan Hansen, Hamilton, In the Heights).
One of the most potent, heart-wrenching songs in the show is “Waving Through a Window.” This song was released as a single with pre-orders of the show’s cast album, which was released on February 3. “Watching Through a Window” is a song that many teens and even adults will empathize with, describing the awful sensation of being an outcast with a torturous view of everyone who unlike you, fits in perfectly. I normally try to stay professional in posts like these, but I have to break that here. As someone who grew up with anxiety and, like Evan Hansen, never truly fit in, hearing a song that so perfectly described and empathized with how awful it feels felt so…amazing and heartbreaking simultaneously. The songwriters show a clear understanding of these sensations and created what I hope will continue to be a song for the outcasts to listen to, to feel a little less alone.
You can watch Platt’s amazing and emotional performance* of “Waving Through a Window” at the Tony Awards here:
*Side fact: Platt had been sick prior to the Tony Awards and was on vocal rest for the two days leading up to the program in order to be able to perform. Which makes this performance that much more amazing!
To listen to the full soundtrack, click here.
To learn more about Dear Evan Hansen–or to buy tickets!–head on over to the show website. You can also follow the show on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr, and subscribe to the Dear Evan Hansen YouTube for more videos!
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