I debated with myself for several weeks whether or not to listen to the soundtrack of Dear Evan Hansen before seeing it in early March. On the one hand, I wanted to, but on the other, it felt like a unique opportunity to experience a new musical as just that: new, and in its entirety – music, acting, stagecraft, technical design, costuming, all wrapped up in its intended package. Not a very long story short, I did not listen to the soundtrack ahead of time and walked out of the theater patting myself on the back in congratulations (and residually weeping, but we’ll get to that in a minute) that I hadn’t. Seeing this show without knowing the story beyond “teen gets caught in a lie” was a gift, an emotional roller coaster and total thrill.
Now, about the weeping – I will hereby attempt to convey the meaning of my emotional response to this beautiful show without any spoilers, because, as we’ve established, I WANT people to have the opportunity to view this with fresh eyes. Please note: I am a liberal crier. I find depth in things that are shallow, and I indulge in my emotions pretty unabashedly. I am also easily and readily moved by artistic talent. I think its my version of “those who can’t do, teach” – those who can’t act/sing/dance/create, look on in deep admiration, subtle envy and with great appreciation that there is this kind of talent in the world (contribute to the arts, people – the artists will save us!!!). All this to say, the fact that this cast, led by the impenetrable Ben Platt, is talented beyond belief was going to break me down, and did immediately. Tears rolling down my cheeks during the first number, before anything had been revealed about plot, because people were singing and it sounded GOOD. And then there’s the storytelling, and the stage direction, and the use of technology, and the live music, and how devastatingly relateable the story is that made me want to fly onto the stage and personally thank each of them – cast, crew, administration staff, usher, box office representative, and the rest – for allowing me the opportunity to bare witness to this greatness.
All this to say, run, don’t walk, to the Music Box Theatre when you can. Truth be told, tickets are flying out the door and Entertainment-Link is here to help you find deals to all of the other wonderful and life-altering theater experiences you can have while you wait for seats to become available for Dear Evan Hansen. It’s just that feeling, y’all. The feeling of being surrounded by artistic talent and passion. It’s a hug, and there are so many shows open right now that will bring you the same feeling – explore the options and let us know how we can be of service!