The musical “Dear Evan Hansen” was a very pleasant surprise. I had no prior knowledge of this musical except what was described in the synopsis before attending the opening at the Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando. I was not sure that this musical was going to be one that I would enjoy. I was mistaken.
Dear Evan Hansen Is About Feelings
Evan Hansen is a senior in high school who feels alone and not sure if he, as a person, really matters. Something that all of us at one time or another have struggled with. His mom, a single parent, is trying to make ends meet while attending school to better herself and yet still be cognizant of her son’s needs. She is concerned for her son’s mental health and has sought out professional help for him. His therapist assigns him the task of writing letters to himself each day to better understand his feelings, thus the Dear Evan Hansen note that Connor Murphy confiscates.
Connor is also dealing with similar issues but his family can not come to terms with this. Connor turns to drugs and commits suicide with an overdose. This scenario sets up the many twists and turns of the musical with personal struggle, interpersonal relationships of students and family, and depression intermixed with humor and an acute understanding of the human condition. This sounds very depressing but it was not and the show is very relevant for all of us.
What We Can Expect To See
As we entered the theater the stage resembled what you might see on a jumbled computer screen. Even the instrumentalists were concealed within the computer screen and yet in plain sight on a platform on the stage. This background was used throughout the performance and added depth and interest as the words on the screen reflected what we were watching and hearing from the performers. The only time this was not true was the last scene in the apple orchard.
Props were minimal but effective. The use of a kitchen table and chairs, a bed, a laptop computer, and bookcases were used in several ways to suggest different settings all the while still using the backdrop of the computer screen.
The performers were superb. Evan (Ben Levies Ross), Connor (Merrick Smith), Jared (Jared Goldsmith), Zoe (Maggie McKenna) and Alana (Phoebe Koyabe) all captured the essence of what high school students feel and face each and every day. Their singing was articulate and well done. The parents played by Jessica Phillips, Aaron Lazar and Christiane Noll captured the agonies of parenthood in dealing with the highs and lows of high school students trying to find themselves.
Dear Evan Hansen Digital Lottery
Great news, The Dr. Phillips Center is offering a lottery for tickets to Dear Evan Hansen. Click The Dear Evan Hansen Digital Lottery Link to try your luck at $25 tickets now. Otherwise, you can purchase tickets on the Dr. Phillips Center website.
I highly recommend this musical to all. It has a message for all ages. If you get a chance go see “Dear Evan Hansen”.
*This review was written by Annette Allport. Thank you to Dr. Phillips Center for the tickets so we could provide our review.