Dear Evan Hansen is a groundbreaking musical


Photo Credit: Jada Davis

Discover your place in the world watching Dear Evan Hansen.

By: Jada Davis, Fall Reporter

Dear Evan Hansen is a musical that made it’s Broadway debut in 2016. Michael Greif directed this musical, and he previously directed the musicals Rent and Next to Normal.

Before going into this summary and review of Dear Evan Hansen, please be aware of the contents of this musical. This musical deals with the theme of suicide. If you are sensitive to that topic, this musical may not deal with you. Also, you should know that this musical has a decent amount of swear words. I wouldn’t recommend this musical to anyone who’s not at least 16 years old.

Evan Hansen, portrayed by Ben Platt in the original cast, is a high school student who has social anxiety. He doesn’t have any friends, except for Jared Kleinman, who only talks to him because he’s a family friend. Evan’s mom, Cynthia, has a rough relationship with her son. She works a lot and also is in college, so Evan never got the support that he truly needed.

Evan’s therapist asks him to write a letter to himself which states how he felt that day. He writes about how horrible his life is going and how his crush, Zoe Murphy, will never notice him. Evan prints this out in the school library and Connor Murphy, Zoe’s brother, finds the letter. He grabs the letter and runs out.

Evan later finds out that Connor committed suicide, and Connor’s parents think Hansen’s letter is Connor’s suicide note. Connor was an outcast who didn’t seem to have any friends, so this left his family in a state of shock. Evan panics and says that he and Connor were best friends, which is a complete lie. Evan’s now dragged into the aftermath of this suicide.

I saw the production of Dear Evan Hansen on July 6, 2017, in which the whole original Broadway cast was present. With this said, I will be reviewing the original cast only and none of the understudies.

Ben Platt does an amazing job of playing the lead in this show. One thing I admire about Platt’s portrayal of Evan is the way he displays Evan’s social anxiety. Platt focuses on little but key details when it comes to showing his anxiety, which is what makes it seem so genuine. He is extremely self-consciousness and a huge fear of being judged by others, which are common signs of social anxiety.

The supporting roles in this show also have great development throughout the show, particularly the character Zoe Murphy. She transitions a lot from the bitter character she was during the beginning of the show. I also appreciate the development that Larry Murphy, Zoe and Connor’s father, goes through from act one to act two.

This musical is a tear jerker. I hate to admit this, but I caught myself crying during certain points of the show, particularly during the song So Big/So Small. This musical doesn’t have a very happy ending, which is something I personally appreciate.

I would personally give this show 4.5/5 stars. The only criticism I have about this show is that I felt some songs were unnecessary. I felt To Break In A Glove was a weird song to start Act II, and didn’t add much to the plot. But despite this, the show is still so impactful.