Dear Evan Hansen: Why It’s Awesome
March 29, 2017
Broadway was always a household name, but it was always a rather empty one. Broadway meant seeing a show once on a family vacation, liking it, then never thinking about it again. However, over the past few years, through its many acclaimed musicals, Broadway has wormed its way back into our awards ceremonies, our social media feeds and our heads as we either rap about our Founding Fathers, or sing our hearts out in a revival of an 80s version of Mean Girls. However, as the hype of green witches and Latino ghettos washes away from our minds, a new musical comes to blow us off our feet. That musical is Dear Evan Hansen, written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
Branding the slogan “#youwillbefound,” Dear Evan Hansen, more commonly abbreviated as DEH, revolves around a boy named Evan Hansen, played by Pitch Perfect’s Ben Platt, with social anxiety. The play tracks this character as he tries to deal with the both hilarious and aching consequences of a fake friendship with recent suicide victim, played by Mike Faist. As the official Dear Evan Hansen website states, this musical is about “a letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have”.
It’s impossible to explain every reason why Dear Evan Hansen, is, frankly, the new Hamilton, but here are, in no particular order, five reasons why Dear Evan Hansen is a musical perfect for our generation
1. The lead of Dear Evan Hansen is Ben Platt from Pitch Perfect and The Book of Mormon.
Ben Platt already is a blessing. With a voice given by God himself, Ben Platt has made us laugh and cry with his roles of Benji Applebaum in Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, along with his role of Elder Cunningham in The Book of Mormon (original Chicago cast). His voice and impressive range make him the perfect pick for the dynamic character of Evan Hansen. Plus, he wears a stuffy and itchy cast every night for the sake of the show. If that doesn’t scream ‘trooper,” nothing does.
2. Dear Evan Hansen tackles the topics of social anxiety, teenage suicide, depression, single parenthood/missing parents and loneliness.
Dear Evan Hansen isn’t just a funny, happy-go-lucky musical that you hum the songs to for a day before burying it in your Spotify’s ‘recently played’ list forever. Dear Evan Hansen’s content is universally relatable and powerful, especially to this day and age, where depression, anxiety, single parents and just general loneliness is just about common as seeing the sun in California. This show unapologetically gives the main role to a character who struggles to speak to people, and the entire play is set off by the suicide of a teenager not loved, but hated by his family. The mother of the main character is a single mom. These characters aren’t larger-than-life talking safari animals, or teenagers fighting in a revolution nearly 250 years ago; they are characters with traits that our society loves to sweep under the carpet. These characters aren’t here to tell a story of a flawless prince saving an unrealistically wonderful princess. These characters are here to tell very real stories, and the cast of Dear Evan Hansen definitely doesn’t hold back from that.
3. It’s set in the 21st century.
Dear Evan Hansen isn’t set in 1700’s Salem, or even in 1980’s Ohio. This amazing musical is set in the relevant 21st century, where anything can go viral with the click of a button. A pivotal moment of the musical wouldn’t have happened if this story were not set in the 21st century. This relevant and relatable time period gives the audience even more room to relate and fall in love with this charming musical.
4. There’s something for everyone.
No matter if you’re a diehard classical music fan, or don’t care for musical theatre at all, there is something for everyone in Dear Evan Hansen. There are intimate, heartfelt moments that will make your mom or your girlfriend burst into tears and thank you for exposing them to this musical, or jokes that will make your friends snicker and stay engaged in the story. It’s by no means as serious as Phantom of the Opera or as comedic as Heathers, but it is a nice balance of the two that can cater to a widespread audience.
5. The soundtrack is short and easy to listen to.
Technology is a gift, mostly because it allows us to listen to music whenever and wherever through numerous apps and programs. Dear Evan Hansen is no different. Unlike Beyoncé, the makers behind Dear Evan Hansen have released this tear-jerking, laugh-eliciting soundtrack onto Spotify for easy listening. If you’re at school, or can’t get connected to Spotify, there is an official playlist of the soundtrack on Youtube, ready for easy listening. The soundtrack is less than an hour, around 50 minutes without ads. You don’t have to curl up and set aside a day to finish Dear Evan Hansen, you could do it within study hall. The show also sports more of its charm in the story between the songs, so reading a synopsis of the play after listening to the soundtrack is recommended (after that, you can listen to the soundtrack again, piece together the story, and cry yourself to sleep).
It’s no lie that Dear Evan Hansen is epically awesome, yet amazingly chill at the same time. There should be no reason not to listen to it, whether it be at home, while studying, or with friends. Dear Evan Hansen is now on Broadway, and you can book tickets, find show times, and read up on the cast on dearevanhansen.com