Written by Joy and Tzivi
Have you ever told a lie that spiraled out of control? Evan Hansen has, and his story is unreal.
“Dear Evan Hansen,” a sweet, unique and very moving new musical, that tells the story of Evan, a quiet, socially awkward teenager who feels lonely and like no one is there for him. Evan (Ben Platt), who suffers from social anxiety and depression, and has no friends, gets caught up in whirlwind of lies and fame when a note he writes ends up in the hands of another troubled kid with a complicated life. (Warning: spoilers ahead)
The show starts off with Evan on his bed giving himself a pep talk that about how this year is going to be better: He is going to be more popular and try to be less awkward and make friends (and maybe even talk to his crush, Zoe Murphy!) He’s writing this down in a letter to himself, as suggested to him by his therapist, when his mom comes in and suggests that he start talking to people by getting his cast signed (yes, he’s wearing a cast at the start of the show).
He gets to school and has so many awkward interactions and can’t manage to get anyone to sign the cast until Connor Murphy, (Mike Faist) who just happens to be Zoe’s bother, becomes the first and only person to sign it, as a joke. He then steals the letter Evan was writing to himself, incorrectly assuming the contents were meant to taunt him. Connor is a troubled kid whose home life is full of tension, and when he takes his life, his family finds the letter and thinks it’s a suicide note written to Evan, who they now assume was Conner’s best friend. This is when Evan’s life begins to spiral out of control, as the story gets more convoluted and filled with lies and adventure.
Unsure of how to say that letter isn’t what people think it is, Evan allows the lie to go on, which only seems to heal people more than ever. Through the letter, Evan is given a chance at friendship, a family bond he never had, and he accomplishes things he never thought were possible, like speaking in public and giving people hope and starting a fundraiser to raise awareness for people who feel alone like he once did. But throughout it all, Evan wonders how far the lie will go and if it will ever blow up in his face. Is it wrong to lie, if the lie only helps people? Evan struggles with this throughout the show, leaving the audience entranced, heartbroken, and ever supportive of this outcast who is only trying to help.
This show is so powerful and meaningful with so many lessons on friendship and love and family, and it left me remembering not to take life for granted. I highly recommend it.