As you may already be aware, I am obsessed with Dear Evan Hansen. As soon as I arranged to take my husband to New York for his 30th, I knew what show I had to see.
Tony award winning Dear Evan Hansen is a musical with music and lyrics from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and a book by Steven Levenson. At the 71st Annual Tony Awards, Dear Evan Hansen was nominated for nine Tony awards, winning in six categories including Best Musical. Oscar award winners Pasek and Paul also won their first Tony Award for Best Original Score.
Dear Evan Hansen tells the story of Evan Hansen, a high-school outsider, who longs for acceptance. A letter that was never meant to be seen finds Evan trapped in a world of lies after the death of one of his classmates. Dear Evan Hansen is a musical that touches on social anxiety, mental health, suicide and finding your own place in the world.
I booked tickets online to see DEH months before arriving in New York. This is still one of the most popular musicals on Broadway so I would advise booking in advance. Our seats were on the mezzanine (F110 and F111) and we had a fantastic central view of the stage.
After being excited to see Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway for such a long time, my expectation level was at its highest. This show does not disappoint.
From the inventive scenic design by David Korins and projection design by Peter Nigrini, the audience are transported into Evan’s world. With effective projections of social media posts throughout, we are reminded of the digital world and the pressures that accompany it.
The direction of Michael Greif and musical direction of Ben Cohn make this production an unstoppable force. This is a strong talented company, who deliver quality performances with energy and emotion.
Tony award winning Ben Platt put the title role on the map so I was looking forward to seeing Taylor’s interpretation. Taylor Trensch, Evan Hansen, provides the audience with his unique version of Evan and he is confident in his delivery. He portrays Evan’s awkwardness and pain with a natural ease. I was moved by Taylor’s emotive performance of Words Fail, which is not one of the songs that normally moves me to tears.
It was an absolute privilege to be able to witness the performances of Laura Dreyfuss as Zoe Murphy and Rachel Bay Jones as Heidi Hansen. As a huge fan of both actresses I was hopeful that they would be at the performance. Laura has a beautiful voice with a unique tone that I would recognise anywhere. Her sensitive, weighty performance as Zoe Murphy is one of my favourite performances in the show. Requiem sung by characters Zoe, Larry and Cynthia Murphy is an unforgettable moment.
Rachel Bay Jones gave me the performance of a lifetime as Heidi Hansen. I felt lucky to have seen her on stage in this role. Her performance of So Big/So small moved me to tears. Rachel delivers the frustration and desperation of Heidi with such dignity as she struggles to understand and protect her son Evan.
We were lucky to catch Mike Faist as Connor Murphy in his final week in the role. Mike shone in his role as Connor and it was one of the outstanding performances of the show for me. Sincerely, Me, performed by characters Connor, Evan and Jared, combined with the wonderful choreography of Danny Mefford, transformed what I considered to be my least favourite song into one of my most memorable performances of the night. Mike, Taylor and Will Roland (Jared) have electric chemistry together.
This production was an easy standing ovation from me and the rest of the audience. We were blessed with a special performance from the cast at the curtain call of the show. The cast performed God Bless America, in honour of Irving Berlin which this year the song is celebrating its 100th Anniversary, on the eve of Irving Berlin’s 130th birthday.
As we were standing at the top of the Empire State Building after the show, I knew that we had witnessed something special that night. A member of staff at the top of the Empire State noticed our DEH Playbill and started up a conversation. This is what Dear Evan Hansen does, it starts conversations about topics that are important. Who couldn’t love a show like that?
That night was one of those nights that I will never forget.
Now….who is ready for our very own West End production of Dear Evan Hansen? Fingers crossed it hits the West End soon as this is a show that the UK needs.
Visit our travel pages for more on my experiences in New York.
Theatretastic rating 5/5:
We say: “Dear Evan Hansen is a show like no other. It is a heart-wrenching, unforgettable experience that the West End needs. RIGHT. NOW.”