When you’re falling in a forest and there’s nobody around, do you ever really crash or make a sound?
Dear Evan Hansen made its New York City premiere at Second Stage Theater and is on a sold out run through May 29, 2016. I must say, I wasn’t excited to reprise my role as Jerrica, the awkward 17-year-old starting her senior year of high school, through watching this performance. What I didn’t expect was that I, at 24, would be so moved.
The production asks #whoisevanhansen, and I have to say Forgiven.
Meet Evan Hansen, or rather, the awkward, socially anxious, and shy spirit that lives inside us or inside someone we know.
All his life Evan Hansen has felt invisible. To his peers, to the girl he loves, sometimes even to his own mother. But that was before he wrote the letter – that led to the incident – that started the lie – that ignited a movement – that inspired a community – and changed Evan’s status from the ultimate outsider into the somebody everyone wants to know. But how long can Evan keep his secret? And at what price?
Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. Facebook.
It’s not an option to be unconnected in this generation. While depression and social anxiety have been around for ages, it’s not until now that it’s possible to be hyper-connected online, yet lack the ability to connect in real life.
Do I even make a sound?
It’s like I never made a sound.
Ben Platt (Evan Hansen) blew me away with the ministry that is voice and his storytelling. He is giving his sweat and tears and singing for the blood, letting us into the mind of Evan Hansen. He is delivering us. He is saving us. He is starting a conversation.
When you enter the Tony Kiser Theater at Second Stage, you see a bed and a computer. The main components and basic necessities of many of our lives. The set, by David Korins, continues to transform as the story continues. It intermixes the storytelling with never-ending Twitter and Facebook posts projected onto scrims, which only further illustrates the state of our modern world—where nothing is private and everything is up for discussion.
The score took me there. My God! Dear Evan Hansen brings out so many raw feelings— grief, loneliness, insecurity, and manages to evoke equal parts tears and laughter, but what translates the introspection and ties this all together is the fresh pop-rock score by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul— the team that brought us A Christmas Story, Dogfight, and NBC’s “Smash” #THANKYOU. The book by Steven Levenson (Showtime’s “Masters of Sex”) and direction by Michael Greif (Next to Normal, Rent) takes an ambitious story and makes it smart and clear; it helps us decode what it means to be a family in this day and age.
I’m stuck somewhere in the middle. Somewhere between the parent learning to balance raising a young adult and continuing to lead a life that fulfills their own passion and purpose, and a teen finding myself in the context of a social media. This story is for both.
Dear Evan Hansen is about decisions. It questions if intent enough to forgive action. It’s about the healing power of love. It’s about growth. It’s about telling yourself the truth and living in your truth.
It’s because of this— the importance, the significance, and the timeliness, that I’m still humming the music of Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, and in utter awe of the powerful performance Ben Platt blessed me with.
Dear Evan Hansen will live on for decades to come. In the mean time, where’s the cast album!? We’ll keep you updated on what’s next for Dear Evan Hansen.
The cast includes: Kristolyn Lloyd, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Rachel Bay Jones, John Dossett, Laura Dreyfuss, Mike Faist, and Will Roland.
For information on student/rush tickets and cancellation lines click HERE