‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ Thank You

Review of Touring Broadway Musical ‘Dear Evan Hansen’


Katie McClellan

The writer and her best friend held their “Dear Evan Hansen” playbills in front of the stage before the musical began.

Katie McClellan, Co-Editor

While my day started off rather unpleasantly with my little brother scream-singing the lyrics to “You Will Be Found” from the Tony award-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen” at the top of his lungs outside my bedroom door, it immediately got better when I remembered that in only a few hours I would be watching the acclaimed musical unfold on stage at the Bass Concert Hall. Later, as I climbed to my seat in what is considered the “nosebleed” section, I’m suddenly transported to eighth grade again. I’d curled up under blankets, stay up reading and rereading the lengthy summary and part by part storyline of the musical and day dream about one day experiencing the music, the acting and the story to its full extent.

The musical follows the senior year of chronically shy high schooler Evan Hansen and his intertwined fate with the family of one of his classmates who commits suicide, focusing on one mistake he makes out of loneliness. While the story has a darker undercurrent, it only makes the story stronger and its characters more relatable, even when they do the unthinkable. The start of the musical before me was not what I had expected, for it lacked the rising of the curtain and a fancy set. Instead there were four simple circular moving bases, one with a dining table, two with beds and one with a couch. The backdrop of the musical was perhaps the most interesting part. There were screens that moved throughout the performance to create rooms or degrees of separation between characters and projections against the screens were a visual representation of a combination of Evan Hansen’s thoughts and social media. It never stopped moving, the words and notifications changing based on the scene and emotions Evan was feeling. It was incredibly well done, something that would catch any audience member’s eye.

The mastery of the tech crew wasn’t the only thing that caught my eye, or in this case my ear. The music seemed to cradle the lyrics, supporting the performers throughout the entire production. It seemed as if the lyrics danced with the characters emotion and the orchestra in the background. Everything flowed seamlessly and swelled to fill the concert hall. I was overtaken by the sensation of drifting between emotions, feeling as though I was on that stage, despite the distance. I found myself wiping at mascara more than once, desperately trying to conceal the tears blurring my vision as Evan sang of feeling invisible and how everyone identifies with the loneliness of going unnoticed occasionally. It was a performance that appealed to the average American teen; a telling so profound that I felt myself losing control of my poise and breaking down in the audience. Although sadness wasn’t the only emotion “Dear Evan Hansen” pulled from me. I laughed and gasped along with the rest of the audience at the smart comebacks and abundant swearing of the characters as everything went both comically and dramatically wrong.

In conclusion, I want to shout from the rooftops “go see ‘Dear Evan Hansen’” because its message reaches across boundaries of all kinds and touches its audience. Be yourself and “You Will be Found.”