Dear Evan Hansen: Broadway’s Champion in Sentimental
High-School Musicals

What are the most popular and interesting topics for the modern viewer? Sure thing, all subjects related to the way people live and life in general. However, it is not that easy to come up with a spectacular story and engage audiences in enjoying it. That is something the recent hit, "Dear Evan Hansen" managed to do successfully.

The musical includes the lyrics written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The plot is based on a Steven Levenson’s bestseller. The premiere of the musical took place in 2015. The main idea is to explain the causes and effects of social anxiety - a mental disorder that brings down more and more high school students in the USA annually. The main problem of this syndrome is that a patient cannot find common language with his or her peers. Sometimes, telling lies seems to be the only way out. Plot twists largely driven by foreshadowing are based on the scandalous social and psychological issues. That is what attracts thousands of spectators every year. The authors of the musical can boast of having received 6 awards at the 71st Tony Awards, including:

  • Teenage suicide and relations between boys and girls in high school.
  • Family violence, abuse, and hostility. Is it morally acceptable to assume the main role in the tragedy you are not part of?
  • How far would Evan go to achieve his selfish goals?
  • Teenage drug addiction is another issue that emerges during the story development.
  •  Finally, the problems with mental health are utterly covered in the musical.

Learning the Story’s Plot

The new cast of Dear Evan Hansen is something that makes this show stand out from the pool of life-related stories. The leading actor, Ben Platt, shared that he played Evan from the initial reading of the play in 2014. This young man saturated the story with pain and confusion. The drama is best seen in the episode where Hansen tries to support the poor parents of his schoolmate Connor, who committed suicide. While the family members and friends are interested in discovering more details and real reasons of the suicide, the boy wishes merely to be noticed. Evan is ready to do everything to attract the attention of the media and become popular in his school. However, he does not realize the consequences of his lies at first. They soon drag him into the real nightmare.

Choosing the right Dear Evan Hansen cast was a highly important task for the crew. The point is that the main actor should naturally portray an insane patient of the asylum to make the audience believe the drama. Since 2014, Ben Platt led the cast and managed to cope with this goal successfully. He cried and belted so hard that the audience started to worry about his own well-being and mental health. Now, it is time for Taylor Trensch to show his worth. Such powerful predecessor as Platt motivates Trensch to act with the same skill and power.

Trensch attended Elon University for musical theater. He was cast in the national tour of Spring Awakening. His theatre credits are a list of 11 beautiful plays. He mostly stars in musicals due to his professional vocals and choreography. The actor took over the main role in Dear Evan Hansen at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway, and he has already had several performances before the official show release.

Various journals and magazines share that Trensch looks more natural and intermittently troubled than Platt. Taylor tortures his character less aggressively. He chooses the wrong path rather ruefully.

Another big start of the show is Laura Dreyfuss, who portrays Zoe, the love interest of the main character. Thanks to her role in Dear Evan Hansen, the girl obtained 4 (!) prestigious awards. Those are Grammy and broadway.com Audience Award in the following categories:

  • Favorite featured actress in a musical
  • Favorite onstage pair
  • Favorite breakthrough performance (female)
  • Best musical theater album.

She also has a 45th Daytime Creative Arts Emmy award. The charisma between Zoe and Evan makes you truly believe their feelings for each other are real. By the way, Rachel Bay Jones is another woman to be appreciated and rewarded thanks to Dear Evan Hansen. This actress portrays the mother of the main character, Heidi, and she does it absolutely brilliantly.

Critical Reviews of the Musical

New York Times and Washington Post are among many reviewers that have already called this musical “an anthem resonating on Broadway and far beyond.” The popularity of the show makes many impressed spectators buy the official production such as CDs/DVDs. Even though the musical would be useful for most of the school students, the experts recommend visiting it only if you are age 12 or older. Younger spectators might appear too vulnerable to fully grasp the main ideas of such powerful musical.

The play has two acts full of drive and dynamics. The director managed to change a small stage into a platform for the intimate living room and deliver several messages at a time that matter to each and every teen and parent. This story teaches us to be more attentive to each other, care about beloved people, and never ignore the problems of others. The author teaches us how to survive and which mistakes to avoid. The ending involves solid food for thought, and you should really see it!

Of course, it is impossible to underestimate the role of both music and lyrics in the play’s success. You will never forget those heartfelt lyrics followed by age excellent, frequently acoustic music accompaniment that predetermines the audience’s mood. You will feel the entire spectrum of emotions conveyed by the perfect musical’s cast. Even if you have many friends, you will be able to feel what it is like to be lonely. If you have no friends like the main character, you will understand the value of friendship, family ties, and love. It is all expressed in every track. The main idea of the composers was to reflect the tensions and conflicts resulting from Connor’s death and Evan’s made-up story. Experts define the musical as a pop-rock action with plenty of acoustics, keyboards, and strings. Isn’t it a perfect combination?

Dear Evan Hansen running time is roughly 2,5 hours, including a single intermission. We believe that this musical is worth everyone’s attention as it reflects the most common problems in the life of any teenager today.

So, are you ready for forever Dear Evan Hansen? Hurry up to buy tickets!