I had the amazing opportunity to see the show Dear Evan Hansen and it was one of the greatest musicals I’ve had the opportunity to see. If you get the chance to see it, I’m begging you to and here’s why.
Dear Evan Hansen follows the story of a teenage boy who is awkward and a little weird. He suffers from anxiety, causing him not to have many friends at school. He begins to craft a friendship between him and another student who sadly committed suicide. The show follows as Evan uses social media to share the story of his “friend” and mental health awareness but also to create this web of lies creating the friendship. He eventually gets caught up in social media, fake friendships and his own mental health as the story goes on. The book was written by Steven Levenson with music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (who wrote the music for The Greatest Showman). Everything about this show is absolutely fantastic.
Why you should see it
I was familiar with the show before I actually went as I had been listening to the music since it was on Broadway with the original cast including Ben Platt and Laura Dreyfuss. However, seeing the show and following the story from the music is a completely different experience. Needless to say, I cried the entire time. Now, there are moments in the show that are absolutely heartbreaking. If you suffer from depression or anxiety or just awkwardness, you will find times where you relate so much that you think they are telling a story about you. I distinctly remember a moment in the show where I thought they were speaking directly to me and I was bawling. But here is why I think people should see this show.
Mental health is still a difficult thing to talk about and musicals are not everyone’s cup of tea. However, this show was able to bring in a modern feel to the theater through the music and the story. Half of the story is told through the perspective of social media as that is how high schools communicate these days. They address how social media can be this great thing by sharing inspiring stories or fundraising for good causes. However, social media has allowed people to pretend to be someone they aren’t, or know someone they don’t, in this case. Social media can be a major influence to mental health in today’s society and the show addressed that beautifully. The entire show revolves around mental health and the feeling of being alone. These are things that have been brushed off so often but it is time we bring them into the light. If you have struggled with mental health disorders, you will find yourself in this show. You will see your times of struggle but also your times of strength. You walk out with a renewed sense of motivation and courage to carry on through those dark times to finally step into the sun. If you haven’t really struggled with mental health, this show gives you a inside look of what it is like for us. How words that you think have no meaning can completely tear us down. The internal struggle that goes on in our mind when we have a smile on our face. It shows compassion and love and empathy in times where it is desperately needed. I’m hoping if more people see it, we can begin to have constructive conversations around mental health.
I can’t begin to express how much I would love to thank the creators of this show for giving me hope and a place where I can feel I see myself on that stage.