I refuse to tell you what DEAR EVAN HANSEN is about because it might keep you from going. The synopsis sounds like a cliché with a predictable resolution, but nothing is cliché or predictable in this heart-felt, transportive, glorious new musical.
Ben Platt received an Obie for his hilarious, touching, beautifully wrought portrait of a teen dealing with social anxiety disorder who finds an unorthodox way out of his shell. Michael Greif directs with his usual sensitivity. Social media blends into the production’s set without calling attention to itself. Catchy Pop tunes fill the Score by Pasek and Paul, I’ve included one below for you to enjoy. Not since RENT can I remember rocking out to a score on first hearing.
Everything about this musical is deft and subtle except for the strong emotional impact which gave me a moment of communion with a stranger in the audience. As we exited our row, we caught each other’s eye, she said “Breathtaking” and I said “Amazing.” We shared a smile. Theater: the real social media.
Now that I have seen the show on Broadway, I stand by my review above. If anything, it is even more poignant and focused on its themes of community and resilience.