Acclaimed Musical Transfers to Broadway for Open-Ended Run
On November 14, 2016, Dear Evan Hansen began previews at the Music Box Theater. The show is scheduled to open on December 4, 2016, and no closing date is being announced in hopes of a long, open-ended run. This musical has a book by Steven Levenson, and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (the same composing team behind A Christmas Story the Musical). The show is directed by Michael Greif (Rent, If/Then, Next to Normal), and choreographed by Danny Mefford (Fun Home, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). Dear Evan Hansen had its world premiere in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2015, also directed by Michael Greif. The show then had its Off-Broadway run at Second Stage from March to May 2016. The show sold out its Off-Broadway run, received excellent reviews, and won several impressive awards such as the Obie Award for Musical Theatre, an Obie Award for the lead performance of Ben Platt as Evan Hansen, three Helen Hayes Awards including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Direction of a Musical, and Outstanding Ensemble of a Musical, and the Outer Critics Circle Award for New Off-Broadway Musical and Outstanding Book of a Musical.
Dear Evan Hansen is set in a high school somewhere in America. The titular character, Evan Hansen, is a senior who is socially awkward and bullied by many at the school, including a boy named Connor. In an exercise for self-confidence, Evan’s therapist suggests he write a letter to himself from a bully who picks on him, in an effort to overcome his awkwardness and understand the other’s point of view. However, the drama of the story picks up when Connor kills himself, and Connor’s family finds this letter that is apparently written from Connor to Evan. Even though Connor is a bully, it becomes clear that he had no friends – except Evan, his family assumes due to the letter. Evan is then welcomed into Connor’s grieving family, all because of this lie. In particular, Connor’s sister, Zoe, happens to be Evan’s dream girl, and the two are thrust closer together due to this tragedy. The show then follows what happens to Evan, who was one the ultimate outsider, and is now the kid that everyone wants to befriend. But how long can Evan keep this lie up, and at what cost?
An Excellent Cast with the Show Since the Beginning
The Broadway production retains the majority of the principal roles from the original production at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Evan Hansen is played by Ben Platt, who played Elder Cunningham in The Book of Mormon on Broadway for the year 2014. The role of his crush, Zoe, is played by Laura Dreyfuss, who made her Broadway debut in Hair and also played the lead role of Girl in Once as a replacement at several points throughout the run. The role of Connor, the bully who commits suicide, is played by Mike Faist, who has previously been on Broadway once before in Newsies. Connor’s mother, Cynthia, is played by Jennifer Laura Thompson, whose previous Broadway credits include Nice Work If You Can Get It, Lend Me a Tenor, Wicked, and Urinetown. Connor’s father, Larry, is played by Michael Park, whose previous Broadway credits include Tuck Everlasting, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Little Me. Evan’s mother, Heidi Hansen, is played by Rachel Bay Jones, whose Broadway credits include Pippin, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and Hair. Finally, the role of Jared Kleinman is played by Will Roland in his Broadway debut. The ensemble is also an award winning and very talented group.
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