by Seattle Pockets guest blogger Shannon Marsh
As someone familiar with the music and the movie of “Dear Evan Hansen,” I was expecting to enjoy this show but always had difficulty suspending my disbelief at some elements of the story. However, this live musical on tour now at The Paramount Theatre is so powerful, so emotional, and well-performed that I was completely immersed.
This Tony Award-winning show touches on the eternal themes of identity, coming-of-age, loss, belonging, and teenagers navigating the confusing world of high school and social media. The beautifully sung production of “Dear Evan Hansen” was stunning, and I highly recommend taking it in while you can.
(The North American Tour of “Dear Evan Hansen” plays The Paramount Theatre, in downtown Seattle now through March 12, 2023.)
Each role in the show is excellently cast, and each character has moments to draw the audience into their world. With only eight cast members plus a band onstage, the sound is more powerful than I expected. To truly believe the story, the audience needs to connect to Evan’s journey with anxiety and connection, and Anthony Norman’s portrayal does just that.
While all the music is excellent, the back-to-back irreverent and fun “Sincerely Me” with the talented August Emerson (Connor) and understudy Reese Sebastian Diaz (Jared), followed by the haunting “Requiem” kicks off the first act with a heart-thumping blaze. I was surprised to see that this was the professional debut of the beautifully pure-voiced Alaina Anderson (Zoe), after getting her degree in Cognitive Science at Yale.
As a parent, I was deeply moved by Coleen Sexton (Heidi), Lili Thomas (Cynthia), and John Hemphill (Larry)’s performances exploring some of the joys and challenges of parenting; from struggling to connect, providing kids both support and structure, and processing adult difficulties while holding space for their kids.
The theme of social media and online identities is cleverly brought to life with the sets- a variety of hanging screens that show both physical locations and the show’s digital world of profiles, videos, comments, and clicks. Micaela Lamas as Alana highlights the challenges teens feel to belong and make a difference.
Twice the music brought me to tears: a powerful, thrilling, joyful moment in Act One and a beautiful, quiet, tearful moment in Act Two.
If you want to be transported by a Tony Award-winning musical, scoop up your tickets for “Dear Evan Hansen” now.
(“Dear Evan Hansen” plays The Paramount Theatre, on tour in downtown Seattle now through March 12, 2023. Tickets here.)
Photos by Evan Zimmerman