Last Saturday, I was luck to have a change in schedule, and was able to purchase last minute tickets through StubHub to see Dear Evan Hansen. (Yes, stubhub, they cost through the nose).
I’ve been eager to see this show for a long time. I missed it at the Arena Stage in DC, but was hoping to get up to New York to see it while it was previewing at the Second Stage. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. The reviews have been excellent, and I liked Ben Platt in Pitch Perfect. I was so grateful that my schedule allowed enough time to see a show. I was also lucky that my friend Sheryl was available to come see the show with me on short notice. We are absolutely Broadway buddies, but I realized that we hadn’t actually been to see a show together since Aubrey O’Day was in Hairspray (almost 10 years ago??). We grabbed a quick barside dinner at Becco first, and then battled the torrential rain to pick up our tickets and make it to the show.
Dear Evan Hansen is playing at the Music Box Theater. We waited out in the rain for 30 minutes before doors opened. A really nice moment from the evening was that the line of ticketholders, we all kind of bonded together to share umbrellas and help each other take pictures. It was a friendly, welcoming atmosphere that I feel has become very rare these days.
Dear Evan Hansen is about an anxious, friendless young man, who finds himself in a short interaction with another misunderstood student. Evan (Ben Platt) had been writing a therapy assignment, a letter to himself, and Connor (Mike Faist), the class “freak,” finds it, signs Evan’s cast, and then runs off with the letter after misunderstanding part of the letter. Connor commits suicide a few days later, and Evan’s letter is found in his possession. Believing it to be Connor’s suicide letter, Connor’s family lean on Evan who is unable to tell them the truth. Evan fabricates a friendship with Connor, leaning deeper into the lie as he becomes closer with Connor’s family, and finding it harder and harder to backtrack.
I was blown away by this performance. Not only is the cast very talented, the show is beautifully written, and it tells such a powerful and important story.
Firstly, I would like to warn everyone who is seeing this show. Pack tissues, and DO NOT WEAR EYE MAKEUP. I’m not even kidding. This is an incredibly emotional, heartbreaking show. I was tearing up continuously, gently wiping away one tear at a time. By the close of the first act, “You will be Found” the tears were just free flowing. By intermission, we were overwhelmed by how deeply moving the storyline and message was. In the second act, by the time they get to Evan’s mother’s (Rachel Bay Jones) powerful 11 O’Clock number, “So Big / So Small” I was literally sobbing. RBJ did a spectacular job of infusing vulnerability and emotion into her song, and her voice carried everything throughout the theater. Again, I literally sobbed.
Ben Platt, was stupendous. His vocals are so good, that as he would be singing, both Sheryl and I found ourselves unconsciously saying, “wow” outloud. Years of attending Broadway shows with my family, and I have never been to a performance until now where the live singing blew away the recording. It’s not even close how much better Ben Platt is in person. His vocals were powerful and his runs were perfect. He has an exceptional musical instinct for where to emphasize a line or add an inflection. And his voice is beautiful. Really, really beautiful. He absolutely deserves the Tony nomination (and fingers crossed hopefully the win) for Best Actor in a Musical, and I urge you to purchase your tickets now before the prices go up even more. (Stubhub was a fortune).
After the show, Sheryl and I were discussing our own teen years. I think this story is so important, and I am so grateful that it’s being told. I hope they make the show into a movie, because it is a story that needs to be shown across the world, and I hope that every person who has ever felt alone can see it.
Bravo, Dear Evan Hansen.
So, obviously photography during the performance is not allowed. Here are a few pictures from the evening.