I LOVE a show that is emotionally devastating and makes me weep. I know that sounds weird, but I find there’s something so beautiful and wonderful about watching something that you know has taken so much work, where every word is manipulated and twisted until the perfect combination comes along, where every scene has been written and rewritten, and yet it still shatters you to your core. It’s pure magic. Dear Evan Hansen is one of those shows. I’ve waited a long time to see the show, and was worried that the hype surrounding the show would somehow lessen the experience, but I saw the show a month ago and I’m still cocooning myself in this Dear Evan Hansen bubble. I don’t want to see another musical. I just want to listen to the gorgeous Pasek and Paul score every second of every day. I have so much to say about it, and yet I still don’t have the proper vocabulary to do the show justice, but I want to talk about the show for forever.
Needless to say, Ben Platt is an absolute revelation and is so deserving of all the recognition he is getting this awards season. He takes a socially anxious, shy kid into a flawed, fully-realized human being just searching for a connection and purpose. Platt obviously has a beautiful voice, and it’s insane how well he can project whilst hunched over and crying. His vocal range is impressive, and I love the guttural noises in his lower register when he’s being self-deprecating. Every tick, every twitch, every movement gives so much insight into his character. It’s a true master class in performing. And those fluids! He can give Viola Davis a run for her money in a snot-off! He takes a fragile human being and turns it into one of the most powerful performances on Broadway, one we will continue to talk about for years to come. He absolutely breaks your heart and leaves you shattered, and somehow manages to do that performance eight times a week. While I cannot imagine another actor as Evan Hansen, and want Platt to stay with the show forever, I am also so excited to see what the future holds for this superstar.
I was a huge fan of Dogfight (and am still hoping for that Broadway transfer!), and Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s score does not disappoint. Alex Lacamoire’s orchestrations, particularly in the strings, are absolutely gorgeous and really elevate the emotions, even on the cast album. And Steven Levenson’s book so expertly crafts this world where you completely feel for Evan and his plight, understand his choices even though they make you cringe, wish he makes another decision, and yet are on board with him throughout the show. With tonal shades of Next to Normal (one of my personal all-time favorites), I absolutely love that Michael Greif managed to direct another beautiful, emotional, heartbreaking show with a teenage ghost boy. Praise!
Isolation is everywhere in this show. Even down to the set, every room is its own island, floating alone in space against a black backdrop, surrounded by screens. And yet the show manages to connect every single person in the Music Box Theater. So thank you, Ben Platt, Rachel Bay Jones, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, Michael Greif, and the entire cast and crew for providing such a beautiful and somehow enjoyable day of crying in the theater. I hope that everyone who needs to find solace finds this show. #YouWillBeFound