Review by Tony Bohn:
Dear Evan Hansen is the much-talked-about contemporary musical currently running at The Paramount until February 2nd. With six 2017 Tony award wins including Best Musical, a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, the soundtrack coming in at number 8 on the Billboard 200 (as well as a remix of one of the songs coming in at number 1 on the Billboard Dance Club chart), not to mention a slew of award-winning collaborators – book by Steven Levenson, music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land and The Greatest Showman) and direction by Michael Greif (Rent and Next to Normal) – I was very excited to check out the hype surrounding this production, and it did not disappoint.
A modern coming of age story set with a backdrop of social media projections, the story follows the life of a high school teenager named Evan Hansen as he struggles to fit in and find his place in a world that is not so easy to navigate. A strong ensemble cast, brilliant book, and powerful score highlight Evan’s journey as he grapples with the ever-increasing dilemma he finds himself in as one horrible lie leads to another until it climaxes in a very public and personal way. Dear Evan Hansen does an outstanding job of balancing comedy with drama to move the story along, and all actors give magnificent performances. The show deals with many themes and a variety of issues including mental health, suicide, family dynamics, self-esteem, social anxiety, social media and communication in the digital age, and the universal truth of finding your own voice. This is a multi-generational production in which everyone can relate to some aspects presented. At some point we all deal with the battle within ourselves to belong and fit in, finding the self confidence to manifest what we want in our lives, feeling like we are alone, invisible or unloved, and ultimately learning to love ourselves regardless of what others think, say or feel about us or what we have done in life.
This is a show that you will want to take a child, parent, friend or other family members (and probably some tissues) to, and it definitely provides an opening for a dialog about some of the issues mentioned. It is also a show that will probably have you doing some self-examination into your own life (I know it did for me!). For more information on dates, showtimes, and tickets, please go here.
PS If you are on a budget, the show is hosting day-of lotteries for $25 tickets. Details here.